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Human capital is a crucial element in the production equation of any organization.
Since organizations are open systems that ought to adapt to their dynamic environment
within which they operate, human resources should be developed , nourished and
empowered to shoulder their task.
This thesis explored the issue of human resource development (HRD) in the civil
service sector in the Sultanate of Oman, a country situated in the Southeastern corner of
the Arabian peninsula.
The objectives behind this research were to examine the following:
• To describe and define the Civil Service policy and practice of HRD in the Sultanate
• To find out whether the human resource development function is used as a strategic
tool in the process of strategic planning in the public sector for instance:
A) To what extent it is used as an approach to implement the nationwide policy of
Omanization- a gradual and careful process of replacing expatriate workers with
B) To what extent the personnel functions are geared to contribute to the HRD efforts
in the public organization.
• To identify the challenges facing the public sector in its attempt to develop its human
resources and consider possible ways / approaches for improving this function.
In order to attend such a framework the researcher adopted a qualitative approach
in which various secondary data was secured from government documents,
published interviews with high ranking officials, journal articles, and books. Such
sources were subjected to an inductive process to draw evidences that support or
negate the preset hypotheses. Among the hypotheses are the following:
• Despite the increasing importance that the civil service sector is giving to HRD, the
outcomes of HRD activities are not evaluated effectively to ensure continuous
• The process of human resource development is adhered to as an activity rather than a
• The human resource development activities are partially applied, focusing on certain
categories of civil servants.
The outcomes of this study were supportive to the laid down hypotheses. The
study indicated that the human capital development is one of the challenges that is facing
the civil service sector. Emphasis ought to put on ensuring proper planning for
implementing the Omanization policy that takes into consideration the development that
takes place in the environment within which such public agencies operate.
Human Resource Development
The Case of The Civil Service Sector
In The Sultanate of Oman
B.B.A, Columbus College, 19
A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of
MASTER OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION
All Rights Reserved
Human Resource Development
The Case of the Civil Service Sector
In The Sultanate of Oman
Terry D. Norris, Ph.D.
Department of Criminal Justice
William L. Cha^ell jfii.D.
Department of Political Science
/^k) // y*M
Raymond B. Gonza]
Department of Political Si
To those who have contributed to my education
Praise be to Allah who has bestowed me with health, patience and uncountable
gifts for enabling me to continue this project.
I would like thank H.E Sayyid Saif bin Hamad bin Suad the Minister of the
Diwan of Royal Court, H.E Shaikh suleiman bin Hamad Al harthy the Diwan's advisor
for planning and organization and the chairman of the Qualification and Training
Committee and the rest of the Qualification and Training Committee members for their
confidence and support. My thanks also goes to Mr.Saleh salim Alghailani the Director
General of the Medical Services in the Diwan for his encouragement and continued
Since I come from a culture that has a high regards for educators and cherish their
roles, I am sincerely grateful and will remain indebted to my professors: Terry Norris,
William Chappell, Raymond Gonzalez and many others. They have all welcomed me and
were always willing to spend extra time out of the class hours to answer my queries and
provided me with their insights and suggestions a matter which has motivated me to live
up to their expectations. My thanks goes to Dr.Adil Al-Joudah-who supervised the
Administrative Development Projects in the Diwan of Royal Court, Dr..Abdel Moniem
Shafie of the Institue of Public Administration in Oman, Dr. Taha Ahmed Abdulraheem
of University of Qatar and Dr. Sameer Trabelsi of the Russell research center in Athens
Georgia for their encouragement and support.
My thanks goes to several librarians who were instrumental in helping me with
the data collection process they are all the librarians at Columbus State University, Mr.
Mohammed al-Hosani, of the Sultan Qaboos University, and my friend Mr. Said
Al-Mujaini of the Public Technical Library in Oman.
My thanks also goes to Mrs. Catherine. J. Anderson for her support as a foreign
students advisor and her efforts to promote cultural awareness within the university.
My research work could have not been finalized without the diligent efforts and
devotions of numerous friends for whom I am thankful. They are: Mr. Khalid Alghailani,
Abdel raheem Alghailani, Abdelrahman alrawahi, Ali Al hamadi, Abdullah Alshukairi,
Abdel waheed Alsaadi, Mohammed Al hassan, Abdullah Al araimi, Juma Alaraimi,
Hulais Al Araimi, Yaqoob Alshamsi, Mohammed Alrashidi, Nabhan Alyahiaei, Nizam
Khan, V.Hamza, Hamad Al marzooki, Khalfan Al srairi and many others.
My sincere appreciation goes to my uncle Saif Alaraimi for his initiative to
register me in school, a step which marked the beginning of my journey in formal
education and his continued support and encouragement ever since.
My thanks goes to my parents,brothers and sisters for their patience and prayers as well
as their belief in me . Last but by no means least my thanks goes to my wife and two
children Abdullah and Ali for their patience and sacrifices for the long hours I spent a
way from them.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1- INTRODUCTION 1
2- METHODOLOGY 7
3- THE SULTANATE OF OMAN: A BACKGROUND
4- LITERATURE REVIEW 28
5- DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS 70
6- CONCULSIONS AND RECOMMENDDATION 112
The human capital of each agency is undoubtedly an essential asset without
which achieving the goals, plans, strategies and translating the mission of the agency to
the desired results can not be attained. It is due to such importance that public and private
organizations design the necessary recruitment strategies to attract the cream of the crop,
keeping in mind not only the short-term goals but the long-term contributions as well.
Because those who are appointed today are likely to be the leaders of tomorrow,
organizations are setting strategies to retain their employees through various schemes
such as training opportunities, career planning, motivation, and compensation and
benefits geared to bolster their job commitment and create a sense of job satisfaction,
hence loyality to their employers.
For a developing country like the sultanate of Oman, a country situated in the
southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, with small population and formal education
commencing in the late 60s and early 70s, the issue of human resource development
becomes critical, especially that the country had to close the gap of the acute shortage of
manpower needed to turn the wheel of development in modern Oman by seeking
alternatives through various external markets. Such a decision had led to a wide diversity
of the workforce since a wide range of expatriate workers of various nationalities, ethnic
background and gender were employed. The country was keen to prepare and qualify the
national human resources and set a long-term plan to nationalize the workforce through
providing the needed education and training for the Omani employees and implementing
a gradual and careful process of replacing foreign workers by national counterparts so
that productivity levels don't lag. Such an effort fostered a nationwide policy of
The issue of nationalizing the workforce however, is not limited to Oman. This
issue has an immense focus all over the Gulf Countries. A seminar held in Abu Dhabi in
May 1999 under the title "Nationalizing the workforce at the GCC countries: realities and
ambitions" stressed that the issue of developing the human capital is one of the
challenges these countries face. ( Aledari, Junel999)
This thesis however will focus on investigating the various activities and
techniques or methods used for the purpose of developing the human capital and trace the
practices adopted by the public sector in the Sultanate of Oman to achieve such a goal.
Statement of problem:
The human side of each organization is an essential asset without which achieving
the goals, plans, strategies and translating the mission of the organization to tangible
results can not be attained. It is because of such importance that public as well as private
agencies develop the necessary recruitment strategies to attract the cream of the crop,
keeping in mind not only the short-term objectives but the long-term contributions as
well. Because those who are appointed today are likely to be the leaders of tomorrow,
organizations are setting strategies to retain their employees through various schemes
such as training opportunities, career planning, motivation, and compensation and
benefits geared to bolster their job commitment and create a sense of job satisfaction
hence, loyalty to their employers.
For a developing country like the Sultanate of Oman, a country situated in the
Southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, with a small population and its formal
education commencing in the late 60s and early 70s, the issue of human resource
development becomes critical, especially that the country had to close the gap of the
acute shortage of manpower needed to turn the wheel of development in modern Oman
by seeking alternatives through various external labor markets. Such a decision has led to
a wide diversity of the workforce since a wide range of expatriate workers of various
nationalities, ethnic background, and gender were employed. In addition to concern for
preparing and qualifying the national human resources and setting a long-term plan to
nationalize the workforce through providing the needed education and training for the
Omani employees and implementing a gradual and careful process of replacing foreign
workers by national counterparts so that productivity levels don't lag. Such efforts
fostered a nationwide policy of Omanization.
This thesis will focus on investigating the various activities and techniques or
methods used for the purpose of developing the human capital and trace the practices
adopted by the public sector in the Sultanate of Oman to achieve such goal. Therefore, in
such quest it will be confined to agencies that adhere to the Civil Service Law and its
relevant regulations .
Topic Relevance and Logic of Research:
The thesis was undertaken by the researcher in partial fulfillment of the degree of
Master of Public Administration. The purpose of the study is primarily to examine the
issue of human resource development and how it is adhered to in the public sector in
Since the Sultanate of Oman is a low populated country, managing and
developing the available human resources in the public sector is a matter of paramount
importance .The logic behind initiating this research is fivefold:
• The researcher's interest in the issue of human resources development as well as his
experience as an employee of a public agency in the Sultanate of Oman.
• The researcher's desire to incorporate the concepts and theories learned in the Master
of Public Administration program to find out how such concepts which are a product of
western thinking are applicable within the organizational cultures of the public sector in
• In view of the Gulf Countries attempt to nationalize their workforce to reasonable
levels, the subject presents itself as the talk of the hour in the region. In addition
• Due to the accelerated changes that are taking place all over the world, HRD is
attracting global attention .
• To pave the way for future comparative study of the same issue within the Gulf
Since Oman has a small population and depends considerably on expatriate labor,
the need for developing and utilizing its available human resources effectively and
efficiently is an obvious and critical requirement for development. Elaborating on this
statement, the objectives of this research are as follows:
• To describe and define the Civil Service policy and practice of HRD in the Sultanate
• To find out whether the human resource development function is used as a strategic
tool in the process of strategic planning in the public sector, for instance:
A) To what extent it is used as an approach to implement the nation-wide policy
of Omanization ~ a gradual and careful process of replacing expatriate workers with
B) To what extent the personnel functions are geared to contribute to the HRD
efforts in the public organization.
• Identify the challenges facing the public sector in its attempt to develop its human
resources and consider possible ways/ approaches for improving this function.
• This study presumes that the human resource development ought to be considered a
strategic tool which should be used by the organization to achieve its mission and the
preset strategies to accomplish it. Based on such conceptual framework the hypotheses of
the study are as follows:
• Despite the increasing importance that the Civil Service Sector is giving to HRD, the
outcomes of HRD activities are not evaluated effectively to ensure continuous
• The process of human resource development is adhered to as an activity rather than a
• The human resource development activities are partially applied, focusing on certain
categories of civil servants.
Delimitations and Limitations of the study:
One of the delimitations of the study is that it will initially confine itself to
exploring the HRD activities in the public organizations that are governed by the Civil
Service Law. Therefore, the study will exclude the following agencies:
• The Diwan of Royal Court.
• The Sultan Qaboos University.
• Agencies of a military nature.
• Quasi-governmental Organizations
The time variable has put a limitation on the outcomes of the study. Due to the
geographical distance between the United States of America and the Sultanate of Oman,
the researcher was unable to travel to Oman in order to carry out intensive interviews
with key officials. On the other hand this study could have benefited from empirical
surveys to trace the perspectives of the administrators and practitioners in this area.
Therefore the findings of the qualitative approach could have been complemented by a
Definition of terms:
• Human Resource: The employees who are working for the civil service.
• Omanization: The process of nationalizing the workforce by way of filling all the
available jobs with national manpower. At the time being it is adhered to through an
incremental and careful replacement of expatriate workers with qualified nationals
employees according to preset plans.
• Quatarization: Steps to nationalize the workforce in the State of Qatar.
• Saudization: Steps to nationalize the workforce in Saudi Arabia.
• Wali: A district governor who is appointed by the Minister of Interior.
• PBUH: Peace be upon him.
• H.M: His Majesty
• GCC: Gulf Cooperation Countries: This agency was formed in 1981 to include
Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates.
These countries are gathered in such setup because they are similar to each other
geographically and ethnically. They embrace the same religion and speak the same
Organization of the remainder of the study:
Chapter two will elaborate on the methodology adopted in this study. The
following chapter will provide background information about the Sultanate of Oman in
order to illuminate the environment towards which the research study is tailored. The
researcher is of an opinion that this section will enable the evaluators to appreciate the
organizational culture within which the HRD issue is being researched.
Chapter four will be specified for the literature review. In qualitative research one of the
formats is to position the literature review section at the end so that it can be compared
with the outcomes of the study. Chapter five will be for the data analysis and findings
while chapter six will be specified for the conclusions and recommendations.
This study is concerned with tracing the human resource development activities
within the public organizations that adhere to the Civil Service Law and its regulations in
the Sultanate of Oman.
The study will be conducted based on a qualitative approach to adhere to the
framework of research. "In qualitative methods (or approaches) the human and social
sciences offer several traditions. These traditions may be method types for data
collection, analysis and reporting, or overall designs that include all phases in the
research process. "(Creswell, 1994).
In the process the researcher will scrutinize various documents such as books,
government documents, research studies, dissertations and published interviews or
declarations of some high ranking officials in the Sultanate of Oman, in addition to
relevant royal speeches of H.M Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the present ruler of Oman
(I) Data Collection Procedures:
Due to the geographical distance between the United States of America and the
Sultanate of Oman, the researcher was unable to travel to Oman to collect the needed data
as a result of other commitments. The researcher formed a network of friends who are
working in different ministries within the public sector in Oman in order to furnish him
with relevant data needed to conduct a qualitative approach in researching his topic. In
addition he has conducted intensive library searches and benefited from various
inter-library loan attempts.
The collected data were mostly secondary data and can be categorized in the
A) Government Documents:
Data in this category include the following :
The royal speeches of H.M Sultan Qaboos bin Said 1970-1995.
• Relevant data from the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth five-year development
plans in Oman.
• The Civil Service Law and its regulations and amendments.
• Papers submitted to the State Consultative Council about the debate on the issue
of Omanization in the public and private sector during the period from January 21-26,
B) Research Studies:
In addition to the previously mentioned data, selected research studies which were
sponsored by the Institute of Public Administration in Oman were chosen . The studies
include the following topics:
• Selection for public sector jobs.
• Training needs assessment in the government sector.
• The development of administrative leadership in the civil service.
• Manpower utilization in the government sector.
• Performance appraisal in the government sector.
C) Articles, Studies, Published Interviews:
The study will also benefit from various articles and studies published in Aledari, a
specialized periodical in administrative sciences published by the Institute of Public
Administration in Oman. In addition, relevant articles and interviews were published in
the local newspapers such as the Oman Daily, and Alwatan. The selection covers the
• Human Resource Development.
• Performance Appraisal
• Interviews with Officials.
D) Selected Master's and Doctoral Dissertations:
The data collected for the purpose of this study covered the selection of dissertations
related to the topic being studied. The study will focus on the following dissertations,
which will be fully documented in the reference section of this study:
• The Reform and Development of Civil Service in the Sultanate of Oman.
• Manpower Planning and Development in Oman.
• Human Capital Theory and the Motivations and Expectations of University Students
in the Sultanate of Oman.
• The International Oil Market and the Economy of Oman.
• A Model for a New Faculty Orientation Program for the Sultan Qaboos University.
• Human Resources Management in Oman: A Comparison Between the Public and
• Modern Oman: Economic Diversification and Omanization of Labor Force.
Among the collected data for the purpose of this study were books on the relevant
subjects to this study written by Omani writers as well as others.
(II) Data Analysis:
The collected data will be subjected to an in-depth scrutiny. The researcher aims to
reach certain interpretations from the data being studied that support or negate his preset
hypotheses. "In qualitative methodology inductive logic prevails, categories emerge from
informants, rather than identified a priori by the researcher. This emergence provides rich
" context-bound" information leading to patterns or theories that help explain a
phenomenon. The question about the accuracy of the information may not surface in a
study, or, if it does, the researcher talks about steps for verifying the information with
informants or "triangulating" among different sources of information, to mention a few
techniques available." (Creswell,1994).
Therefore, while analyzing the data, the researcher will follow an inductive logic in the
process. The interpretation arrived at will be compared and contrasted with different
sources as well as with the review of literature on the topic being researched.
The Sultanate of Oman: A Background Introduction:
I- Geographical features:
Oman is comparable to the size of the State of Colorado in the USA, or the United
Kingdom and Ireland (Miller, 1997).
A member of the Gulf Cooperation Council, The Sultanate of Oman is located in
the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula.
As a result of the unification of the two Yemens and the border demarcation with
both Saudia Arabia and the Arab Republic of Yemen, the Sultanate of Oman is the third
largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, with a land area of 309,500 square kilometers
(Ministry of Information, 1997).
The Sultanate of Oman borders the United Arab Emirates from the northwest,
Saudi Arabia from the west and the Arab Republic of Yemen from the southwest. In the
northern most part of Oman "The Musandam peninsula, is separated from the main part
of the country by a strip of some 80 kms, forming part of the UAE. Musandam peninsula
commands the strategically important Strait of Hormuz through which oil tankers pass
Carrying most of the oil exported from the Gulf." (AlYousef, 1995). From the East it
borders the Arabian Sea.
The country's strategic position has put it in the attraction zone of the main
powers in the sphere of foreign trade because it is distinguished by 1, 700 kilometers of
coast line, not to mention that it is the gateway to the Persian Gulf. It overlooks the
Arabian sea and is the meeting point of the two continents of the Indian Ocean, the
Indian subcontinent and Africa.(Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, 1996).
Al Yousef,1995 , states "That Oman can geographically be divided into five main
regions: The Musandam Peninsula and the areas mountainous range of the Hajar, the
Batinah coast, the area between the southern end of the mountain range and Dhofar, the
Salalah plain, and finally the area merging into the Rub al-Khali."
On the other hand, according to Royal Degree No 6/91 issued by H.M the Sultan,
the country is divided into eight administrative regions ; Muscat, Al-Batinah,
Musandam, A'dhahirah, A'dakhliyah, Asharqiyah, Alwusta and Dhofar. Such a
division was initiated in order to enhance social and economic development and improve
the regional distribution of public services.
Oman is located "between latitudes 16 40 and 26 20 north and longitudes 51 50
and 59 40 Easf (AlYousef,1995,Ministery of Information, 1998).
Oman has a number of strategic islands such as Musirah Island, and various small group
of islands called the Hallaneyat.
The Sultanate of Oman enjoys a variety of topographical features such as plains,
wadis, mountains. The coastal plains stretch from Muscat,the capital city, to the boarder
with the United Arab Emirates in the northwest, the remaining are the southern part of
the country surrounding the city of Salalah. There are two mountainous regions: "The
Hajar range runs from Musandam in the north to Ras-alhadd, the extreme limit of the
Arabian Peninsula. In the south, the Qara range attracts the monsoon, which brings
unique weather conditions and creates a special environment in Dhofar" (Ministry of
The remaining feature is mainly sand and gravel desert, which makes up part of
the Empty Quarter.
The climate differs from one area to another. While it is hot and humid in the
coastal areas during the summer, it is hot and dry in the interior. The higher mountains
enjoy a moderate climate all through the year. Rainfall is generally light and irregular. "In
Oman, temperatures reach into high 40s C in the summer months of April to September
and usually do not drop below the high teens in the cooler months from October through
March. In the north, average rainfall measure only 20 mm and occurs during December
through March, despite limited rainfall, humidity averages 65% to 80%. Summer
monsoons create a more tropical climate in the south where rainfall reaches 45mm in July
II- Historical Background:
Oman's history extends far to the pre-Islamic past, but little is known about it.
"Sumerian tablets refer to a country manned Magan as a source of copper. It seems
certain that they referred to Oman. Evidence from excavations near Sohar shows that the
copper mining and smelting industry was developed by the year 2000 B.C." (Ministry of
The ancestors of the present day Omanis are believed to have migrated in two
waves. The first was from Yemen while the other was from northern Arabia.
The Omanis embraced Islam in about 630 AD.
Oman is a seafaring nation, the dhows of Oman have navigated through the Indian
Ocean and reached India, Iran and even further to China. Omani merchants have also
traded with the Gulf States, Yemen, and reached as far as East Africa. During their trips
the Omani merchants exported dates, dried fish, limes and in return they imported food
stuff, clothes and woods to be utilized for ship construction. Since 1498, Oman had
been exposed to the ravage of non-regional power; thus, the coast areas of Oman fell
under the control of Portuguese for a century and a half starting from 1507 to 1650 when
they were driven out of country by Imam Nassir bin Murshid of the Alyarubi dynasty
which ruled Oman prior to the present dynasty.
It was in 1744 that Ahmed bin Said became the Imam. His election as an Imam
signified the beginning of the rule of the Al-busaid Dynasty from whom the present ruler
During the last half of the eighteen-century Oman became involved in the
British-French struggle for dominating the Indian Ocean basin. After evicting the
Portuguese, the Omani stretched their domain and conquered the Swahili coast (now
Tanzania and Kenya) and initiated the lucrative clove industry.(Miller,1991).
It was under Imam Said bin Sultan( 1806- 1856) that the Omani Empire prospered
and its relations with Britain strengthened to closer ties. Oman was also the first Arab
country outside of North Africa to establish relations with the United States of America
On July 23rd 1970, H.M Sultan Qaboos bin Said AlSaid, the present ruler,
inherited an isolated and backward country, which was in dire need of massive
development programs. The new ruler has channeled the revenue of the country's new
wealth (oil) to finance the needed infrastructure projects and build a modern state out of a
fragmented tribal society.
Upon his accession on July 23rd, 1970 H.M Sultan Qaboos to his people in his
first royal speech expressed his desire to commence the development efforts. He stressed
"I will proceed as quickly as possible to transform your life into a prosperous one with a
bright future. Our country in the past was famous and strong. If we work in unity and
cooperate, we will regenerate that glorious past and we will take a respectable place in
the world. "( Ministry of Information, 1995).
Ill- Religious, social and cultural features :
According to the 1993 General Census of Population, Housing, and
Establishments conducted for the first time in the history of the country, the population
of Oman was 2.02 million. The natives form 74% of the total population, while the
remaining are expatriate workers and their family members. The most populated region is
the government of Muscat with a total population of 622,506 followed by AlBatinah
region with a total population of 538, 763. The most populated city is Salalah in the
Government of Dhofar, the southern part of Oman, with a total population of 121,753.
The government of Musandm is the least populated region in the country, with a
population of 27,669 (AlYousef, 1995).
Arabic is the official language; however, English is widely used. The majority of
Oman's inhabitants are Arabs.
Islam is the country's official religion. Most the Omanis are Muslims. They
embraced Islam voluntarily in the second quarter of the seventh century A.D. "Omanis
are tolerant not only of the beliefs of their Muslim brothers but also of many Christians in
the foreign community who are allowed to practice their own religion." (Ministry of
Oman and the Omanis are keen to preserve their culture. In 1976 a Ministry of
National Heritage and Culture was established. The Ministry is keen to preserve ancient
manuscripts, set museums, and restore historical sites such as forts and castles. In
addition the ministry organizes numerous exhibitions at home and abroad to spread
awareness about Omani heritage and culture. In 1995 an Omani cultural exhibition was
held at the capitol in Washington. "In 1996,The Ministry participated in exhibitions in the
United States, UK, France, Belgium, Italy, Egypt, Morocco, Abu Dhabi as well as in
local cultural events and displays." (The Ministry of Information, 1998).
IV- Economic features:
After a period of isolation that led to backwardness and poverty, Oman is widely
recognized in the world today . It has joined both the League of the Arab States and the
United Nations in 1971. In the same year Oman also became a member of the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and
Development (IBRD) . Within the region Oman is also a member of the Gulf Cooperation
Council ( GCC) as well as the Indian Ocean Rim for Regional Cooperation. ( Ministry of
In 1996,Oman attended the World Trade Organization ( WTO) meeting as an
observer and expected to be a member of WTO by the end of this year.( Oman Daily
News, February, 251999).
Oman's economy was profoundly changed by the export of oil in 1967. Until then
the main exports consisted of dates, limes, and fish, in addition to copper and
frankincense which were quality products to the civilized world. The principal imports
then consisted of basic foodstuff, cotton goods and other essential goods such as wood
which is utilized in the construction of ships.
After a prosperous period Oman went into a recession, precipitated by the
introduction of steamships in 1862 among other factors, that had led to a period of
poverty and isolation. With the advent of oil which was discovered in 1964 and the
accession of H.M Sultan Qaboos who succeeded the throne on July 23rd, 1970, Oman
found a ruler who is willing to use its newfound wealth to unlock its potential. Therefore
the Sultan and his government undertook a vigorous program of modernization which
took into account not only the needs of the country for the main infrastructure projects
but also the long term development.
The development of Oman adopted a gradual planned process in a form of a five year
development plan. Today the country is undergoing the fifth five year plan which will
end in the year 2000. The fifth five-year plan is characterized as the initial plan for a long
term plan set for the economy of the country; it is named the future vision plan until the
" In June 1995, the Vision Conference: Oman 2020 was held in Muscat with aim
of moving the economy into a new phase of development leading to higher growth and
prosperity. The aims are :
• Economic and financial stability.
• Reshape the role of government in the economy and broader private sector
• Diversification of the economic base and sources of national income.
• Globalization of the Omani economy.
• Human resource development and upgrading the skills of Omani workforce. "(Ministry
of Information, 1998).
By the end of this ambitious long-term plan the country hopes to diversify its economy
significantly and lessen the reliance on oil .
The country enjoys a healthy trading activity with many countries around
the world and is a member of many regional and international organizations. Plans are set
to make the country a reexporting center in the region.
From the inception of the development process, Oman put an emphasis on the
necessity of diversifying its national income by supporting the traditional activities such
as agriculture, fisheries and encouraging the exploration of potential mineral wealth
which is being searched for and various sources of copper and chromate that have been
already exploited. Oman has also concentrated on developing its financial sector such as
banks and other financial institutions.
Oman has also introduced several policies the purpose of which is to encourage
the role of the private sector in the process of development. It has also upgraded its
investment rules to attract foreign investors as well ( Ministry of Information, 1998).
Privatization is considered one alternative for delivering public goods and services by
way of delegating it to an outside source to shoulder it instead of the government.
"Privatization is a dynamic concept and means of changing from an arrangement with
high government involvement to one with less; correspondingly, it means changing to an
arrangement where a private sector plays a more dominant role."(Savas, 1987,p. 88).
Bearing this in mind H.M the Sultan issued Royal Decree Number 42/96 (the
privatization decree) which officially ratified the government of Oman policy of
privatization. This decree authorized the establishment of plans to sell government assets
to the private sector as well as offering concessions to private investors to operate and
finance public services such as electricity, water, roads and telecommunications
previously provided by the government of Oman.
According to such policy the government sold its shares in the National Insurance
Company, Gulf Hotel Company-Oman, Raysut Cement, and Oman National Bank, and
there are many others under thorough scrutiny such as Oman Aviation. The government
also encouraged the private sector to establish, operate and finance projects such as
sewage treatment plans, roads, and tourism-related projects.
The private sector was fortunate to get various subsidies and grants from the
government to set the needed foundations to be able to participate in the development
process effectively. The government has upgraded its investment regulations to attract
foreign investors and encourage investment in various spheres and emphasized
developing its light industry to pave the way to foreign investment and strengthen its
economic relations with the rest of the world.
The government of Oman has entered into an agreement with an American
company, Sea-Land, to form a joint venture, Salalah Port Services, to develop and
operate a US $ 250 million container port at the Port of Raysut in Salalah under a
30-years operating agreement. The government intends to offer 40% of the shares of the
joint venture to the public on the Muscat Securities Market. This port was actually
opened in 1974 as a small port in the southern region of the country but this agreement
will lead to massive expansion. The port has started its operation under the new
agreement in November, 1998. ( Oman Daily News, July 23,1998).
Oman's economy has witnessed a restructuring process and has positively
cultivated itself to the accelerated change in the new world economic order in which the
open economy is widely advocated, especially in developing countries.
V- The Evolution of the Civil Service:
The Civil Service System is a product of the modern state which had emerged in Oman
under the leadership of H.M Sultan Qaboos bin Said since 1970. Prior to 1970, the
country's affairs were attended to through a very traditional administrative style. Oman
lacked basic administrative, social, and economic structures. AlMuharami,1993 , stated
that "before he was overthrown, Sultan Said's civil employees totaled 1,750, including
the Ministry of Interior ( Nadharat al Dakhiliya), the governor of the capital's office,
expatriate advisers, walis, judges and administrative clerks. Each head of a department or
agency was empowered to appoint directly the employees needed for his official office.
Although the capability and skill of the applicant was indicated as a prerequisite for the
appointment, selection was based on the applicant's age, loyalty, and social conduct
rather than educational qualification or generally speaking, the merit principle."
In 1973, a Civil Service Department was formed and was attached to the Sultan's
Diwan. To bolster this unit with a professional backing, an expert in personnel
administration was seconded to the government of Oman from the United Nations.
In 1975 H.M the Sultan issued Royal Decree No. 3 in January 1975 in order to set
up a special committee to study and organize the country's administrative institutions .
The outcomes of this study resulted in two drafts, one with regards to the administrative
structure of the government, while the other was on a civil service law, both of which
were approved and issued. The existing civil affairs are attended to through the Civil
Service Council, the Ministry of Civil Service, and the Institute of Public Administration.
A- The Civil Service Council:
This Council was established by Royal Decree No. 28 of 1975. The law
emphasizes that the Council's duties, apart from its other main functions, are to
modernize and improve the civil service rules and the regulations of government
ministries and other public agencies which operate under its supervision.
Article 2 of Royal Decree No. 18 of 1988 laid down the overall responsibilities of
the Civil Service Council:
(a) Establishing the general policies of Civil Service activities in the light of the country's
development requirements, and passing them on to the Council of Ministers for
(b) Ratifying the proposed laws and regulations of the Civil Service as well as its
programs, and unified salary scales submitted by the Ministry of the Civil Service.
(c) Carrying out the modification of the Executive Regulation of the Civil Service law
according to Article 4 of law 8 of 1980
(d) Ratifying administrative development plans and job reforms put forward by the
Ministry of the Civil Service.
(e) Ratifying the appointment of the Special Scale personal governed by Civil Service
Law and determining their levels, grades, and salaries.
(f) Ratifying the grant of the extras stipulated in Article 57 of the Executive Regulation of
the Civil Service Law in accordance with the procedures and conditions therein.
(g) Raising the minimum level of pensions and granting exceptional pensions in
accordance with individual cases stipulated in the law pertaining to pensions and
(h) Investigating the complaints of employees and writing reports thereon.
(i) Preparing annual reports to be put before the Council of Ministers on the condition of
the administrative apparatus in the state in the light of the laws and regulations of the
Civil Service, with any proposed modifications.
The same Royal Decree defined the responsibilities of the Chairman of the Civil Service
(a) The formation of the Central Disciplinary Council and investigation of complaints
against its rulings in accordance with the law and regulations of the Civil Service.
(b) Fixing the dates of vacations and public holidays and the start and the end of the
working day in accordance with the Civil Service law and Regulations.
(c) Heading the pension and rewards fund as specified in the pensions and post-service
Article 1 of Royal Decree No. 18 of 1988 defines the membership of the Civil Service
Council as follows:
Chairman : The Minister of the Diwan of the Royal Court
Deputy chairman : The Minister of the Civil Service
Member: The Minister of Education and Youth
Member: The Minister of Social Affairs and Labor
Member: The Minister of General of the Legal Bureau
Member: The Deputy of the Minister of Palace Affairs
Member: The Secretary to Cabinet
Member: The Secretary-general of Civil Service Council.
B- The Ministry of Civil Service:
This ministry was formed in 1988 to succeed the Bureau of Personnel Affairs. In
1992 a Royal Decree identified the functions of the Ministry of Civil Service. As a public
agency this ministry adheres to the following functions:
(a) Implementing public policies of the Civil Service.
(b) Proposing draft laws pertaining to the Civil Service and preparing regulations and
unified scales for salaries, increments, and expenses to be put before the Civil Service
(c) Formulating administrative development plans and those of job reforms and putting
them before the Council of Ministers for ratification.
(d) Planning administrative training programs in co-operation with the responsible
(e) Investigating the problems of the Civil Service and suggesting solutions for them in
the light of current laws and regulations and the dictates of public welfare.
(0 Providing technical assistance and advice to the government apparatus in personnel
affairs, e.g. the classification of jobs, their scales and the simplification of procedures,
in-sevice training, etc.
(g) Supervising the implementation of the Civil Service Law and regulations by all
government units under its jurisdiction.
(h) Implementing the superannuation and pension laws and regulations.
(i) Distributing graduates and study grants holders in accordance with the laws, also
other graduates and school leavers, according to their specialization and the actual needs
and priorities which serve the goals of the state's development plans.
(j) Other responsibilities specified for the Personal Affairs Bureau.
(k) Ensuring the training of Omani employees of the ministry.
(n) Functioning through its various units in accordance with its laid down rules and
C- The Institute of Public Administration:
The Institute of Public Administration (IP A) was formed by Royal Decree 1977.
This Institute is an independent agency, under the supervision of The Ministry of Civil
Service since 1988.
This Institute provides training programs directed toward enhancing the
knowledge, skills and abilities of the national employees. In addition it provides research
and consultancy services to various government agencies and conducts and participates in
conferences dealing with the prevailing administrative issues.
The Institute also publishes a periodical journal called "AlEdari" in which various
studies on administration sciences are published. This agency plays a vital role in the
efforts made to meet organization targets in the public sector. "Training programs for
senior civil servants, including under-secretaries and directors general are arranged as
well as courses for staff at lower levels in government. Courses in accountancy, statistics
and English language proficiency are some of the subjects offered by the IPA. "(Ministry
of Information, 1998).
Even though IPA is located in Muscat and has no branches outside, it conducts
training courses in Salalah, Sohar and Burial as well. IPA plans to conduct 110 training
programs in 1999. The training activities cover areas such as public administration,
financial administration, writing skills, information technology, English, scientific
research, statistics and library science. (Institute of Public Administration, 1999).
IPA main objectives are:
(a) To set up and implement training programs for all levels of government officials.
(b) To conduct theoretical and practical research in the field of public administration
and to provide administrative advisory service to government ministries, and to other
(c) To hold seminars and conferences in order to discuss and exchange ideas and
knowledge about administration problems and to provide special recommendations
which suit the local environment.
(d) To establish a specialized library with emphasis on administrative science as well as
to provide material needed by readers and researchers.
(e) To exchange administrative literature, ideas and experience with relevant institutes
within the Sultanate and abroad.
(f) To issue periodicals, bulletins and other publications concerning the activities of the
Institute and to promote administrative awareness in the Sultanate. (Al Muharami, 1993).
VI- The Current Government Structure
The system of government in the Sultanate of Oman is monarchical. His Majesty
Sultan Qaboos bin Said AlSaid has been the Sultan (ruler) since 1970 and the
administrative system of his Government is comprised of the following:
(l)The council of ministers
It is considered the highest executive authority, getting its executive power from
His Majesty the Sultan who is also considered the prime minister as well as the in charge
of defense, foreign affairs, and finance. H.M the Sultan authorizes laws and decrees and
in turn, international treaties, agreements and charters signed and approved by His
Majesty the Sultan become law from the date of their publications in the official gazette.
The public administration was established according to ministries to cover all
aspects of socio-economic development. The Council of Ministers consist of 29 agencies.
Each one is responsible for setting the necessary policies and regulations, which organize
the process of achieving the main objectives for which they were established. In addition
both the governor of Muscat and the governor of Dhofar are members of the Council of
The preparation of royal decrees and reviewing all draft laws, regulations and
ministerial decisions before being published in the official gazette falls under the
responsibilities of the Ministry of Legal Affairs which was established in 1994. It also
drafts international agreements and government contracts.
The most important piece of legislation to be enacted in 1996 was the Basic
Statute of the State which is intended to provide a solid basis for political and social
stability in addition to guaranteeing the rights and freedom of individuals. (Ministry of
The Specialized Councils
Several specialized councils were introduced to facilitate interministerial
relations such as following:
(l)Financial Affairs and Energy Resources Council.
(2)The Tender Board.
(3)The Defense Council.
(4)The Civil Service Council.
The council of Oman
This council was established by royal decree 86/97 in accordance with the basic statute
of the state. It consists of two branches:
(1) State Council:
This council consists of members who are appointed by H.M the Sultan. The
members are authorized to examine legal, economic, and social issues. The council
offers advice to H.M. the Sultan and works in coordination with Majlis Alshura. In this
regard the council conducts meetings periodically to discuss the issues scheduled in its
agenda. Members of the council are free to express their opinions during the meetings.
The council organizational structure consists of the following:
• President of the Council.
• Executive Office.
• The Secretariat.
Unlike Alshura Council's discussion, the State Council's discussion remains limited to
its members only; therefore, it is not announced publicly.
(2) Majlis Alshura (Consultative Council)
Majilis Alshura came to succeed the state Consultative Council that was in effect
from 1981 as a channel of more participation in the government. The first Consultative
Council was inaugurated with 59 members who were appointed by royal decree. The
council members have increased in the 1994 election as a result of the national census
held in December 1993. Districts with a population of 30,000 people or more elected four
candidates from whom two were selected to serve as members of the council but districts
with lower population continued to nominate two of whom one is selected to represent
that particular district. Since 1994 women entered the arena of political participation for
the first time and two women were selected to represent their districts. The duties of this
council are as follows:
(a) Reviews all social and economic draft laws prepared by ministries before their
(b) Participates in the efforts towards the conservation of the environment.
(c) Gives its opinions on general policies presented by the Cabinet of Ministers.
(d) Participates in the preparation and implementation of government plans.
(e) Reviews public service utilities and makes recommendations regarding their
modifications and development.
(f) Identifies obstacles to economic development and recommends methods to solve
Local Government in the Sultanate of Oman
The structure of the local government in the Sultanate of Oman has witnessed a
rapid advancement. Royal Decree No. 6/91 for the approval of the administrative division
of the country reveals that there are eight regions. The motive behind this step as
indicated in the decree is to energize the economic development in the country, facilitate
the process of spreading the services all over the country and introduce measures for
disciplined selection of members of Majlis Alshura ( Consultative Council) who will
eventually represent their respective districts.
These regions are as follows:
• Governate of Muscat
• Governate of Dhofar
• Goverate of Musandam
• Albatinah Region
• Aldhakilia Region
• Alsharqia Region
• Aldhahirah Region
• Alwusta Region
Under each of these regions came several districts. (The Official Gazette, 1991).
The pattern of local government in the Sultanate of Oman has two distinct features:
• Administrative organizations in the form of governates and regions that differ in the
scope of their authority in accordance to their geographical location, size of the
population, and the local government traditions, in addition to the requirements of
the socio-economic development.
• Municipal organizations through which municipal services are rendered to the citizens
in their respective place.
Each organization, public or private, has a human factor as a component of the
productivity equation. An organization is defined as "A deliberate arrangement of people
to accomplish some specific purpose" (Robbins and Coulter, p. 1999). It can be inferred
from the previous definition that an organization has the following characteristics:
• A specific purpose: This element is usually expressed in terms of goals that a
particular agency seeks to accomplish.
• People : Each organization must have people to achieve the preset goals.
• Structure: Each organization must design the structure that suits its purpose so its
employees can do their work. The structure can be flexible and open or it could be
traditional but regardless of the type of organizational structure arrangement, an
organization must have a deliberate structure to clarify its employee's relationships.
(Robbins and Coulter, 1999 p. 18).
The key element of an organization is not a building or a set of policies
and procedures; organizations are made up of people and their relationships with
one another. An organization exists when people interact with one another to
perform essential functions that help attain goals. Recent trends in management
recognize the importance of human resources, with most new approaches
designed to empower employees with greater opportunities to learn and contribute
as they work together toward a common goals. (Daft, 1998 p. 8).
In stressing the continuous need for organizations Drucker assures that
"organization will be needed even more than before. Precisely because there will be much
ambiguity, so much flexibility, so much variation, far more clarity will be needed in
respect to mission, values, and strategy ; in balancing long range and short range goals in
defining results. Above all, absolute clarity will be needed as to who makes ultimate
decisions and who commands in a crisis." ( Drucker Foundation, 1997 p. 4).
Drucker reiterates the importance of organization and stresses that " the organization is
however, more than a machine as it is in Fayol's structure. It is more than economic,
defined by results in the market place. The organization is, above all, social. It is people.
Its purpose must therefore be to make the strengths of people effective and their
weaknesses irrelevant." ( Drucker Foundation, 1997 p. 1 1)
Groves, 1998 states that organizations are likely to achieve their objectives when
their manpower is highly trained and motivated. Without such attention to their
manpower, their efforts will go in vain.
As a result of such emphasis on people , each organization specifies a
department, a section, or a unit within its organizational structure to shoulder the task of
managing the human resources of the organization. In addition each organization has its
own culture that distinguishes it from other organizations. Corporate culture is defined as
"the system of shared values, beliefs, and habits within an organization that interacts with
the formal structure to produce behavioral norms." (Mondy and Noe, 1990 p. 189).
The issue of organizational culture is a crucial part for the achievement of an
agency's mission and goals. This element evolves from the example set by the leaders in
the organization, from their actions rather than their talk. Factors that shape
organizational culture include communication, motivation, leadership, organizational
structure, administrative processes, organizational characteristics and management style.(
Mondy and Noe, 1990).
Human resources management literally has several definitions. To illustrate the
meaning and the scope of human resources management the following definition was
Human resource management (HRM) is the organization function that focuses on
the effective management, direction, and utilization of people, both the people
who manage, produce, market, and sell the products and services of organization
and those who support their organizational activities . It deals with the human
element in the organization- people as individuals and groups, their recruitment,
selection,assignment,motivation,empowerment,compensation retirement. (Tracey,
Approaches for carrying out the HRM functions vary from one agency to another.
While some agencies have a centralized HRM department to adhere to such tasks
supported by highly specialized staff, others have a decentralized set up to shoulder the
same task. HRM functions can be classified into primary functions such as:
Recruiting and selection.
Compensation and benefits.
Employee (labor) relations.
Human resource planning
Equal employment opportunities.
Human resource development.
As well as secondary functions such as:
Organization /job design.
Performance management systems.
Research and information.
(DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Others classify such processes in a different fashion; for instance, Barton and Chappell,
(1985) indicate that it can be classified into three categories as follows:
• Recruitment and selection.
• In-Service personnel processes which includes activities such as promotion,
evaluation, training and pay or compensation.
• Separation: This category includes firing, dismissals, and voluntary separation.
Within the parameters of the non-military public organizations, human resource
management functions are governed by civil service law and regulations.
In the public sector, human resource management in the USA is characterized by the
• Their motive is not driven by profit and they are not subjected to the competitive
pressures due to the fact that their service is of a monopolistic nature.
• Due to the way power is distributed, managers are caught in a struggle between the
chief executives and the legislative branch for controlling the bureaucracy.
• Policies that govern personnel affairs are set through an open process. The outcomes
of such policies are normally influenced by the many players such as judicial,
legislative and some executive branch organizations in addition to other players
within its socio-economic and political environment. ( Tompkins, 1995).
A historical review of the evolution of the civil service in the USA reveals the
The early years after 1789 were a period of new beginning. " In general terms the
development of personnel administration has moved from a patronage system, dominated
by the use of public jobs to reward political support, to a merit system, with emphasis on
ability to perform effectively on the job." (Barton and Chappell 1985 p. 94).
During the formative years of the Republic, personnel needs were determined by
both political loyalty and employee's competence. "Traditions were established that the
public workforce should be representative (geographic and partisan) and that chief
executives have the right to select their own management and policy team" (Dresang,
1984 p. 24). The Spoils System emerged in the Jackson Era. During that time the whole
government workforce was continually changing after each presidential election. In
addition public jobs were used as both an incentive to motivate the party workers and a
means through which to collect campaign contributions from the appointees ( Barton and
In 1883, the Pendleton Act set a firm ground for the merit system. Therefore,
functions such as selection, promotion and retention were no longer based on a patronage
basis; rather, they became based on open competitive examinations. The outcomes of
such examinations determined the competence and the ability of an employee to perform
( Dresang, 1984, Barton and Chappell, 1985).
Dresang, 1984, stressed that "in part, the acceptance of the merit system concept
was acceptance of Woodrow Wilson's basic argument that there should be a basic
distinction between politics and administration. He contended that politics involved
values, conflict, and compromise and that the output was public policy. Administration,
on the other hand, was technique, process and science. The task of administration was to
implement public policy." ( Dresang, 1984 p. 26).
The adoption of the scientific management in the public domain led to a system of
position classification, which was aimed at introducing equitable compensation.
" Beginning with the New Deal, professionals were relied on to provide
directions to government agencies, new and old. These professional were needed by chief
executives both because of their substantive knowledge and for their sympathy with the
policy directions of the government." ( Dresang, 1984 p. 34).
The merit system had some negative effect , which called for a response. It has
made it difficult to take needed actions to employees. For example, chief executives had
difficulty transferring their employees to the most suitable places within the organization
or remove those whose performance is unsatisfactory. ( Barton and
Chappell, 1985). During President Carter's era, the national government replaced the US
Civil Service Commission in 1978. The commission was succeeded by three agencies.
They are as follows:
• The Office of Personnel Management, which was assigned the administrative
responsibilities of the commission. It was put directly under the supervision of the
• The Merit Systems Protection Board, which was assigned the task of
attending to employee appeals.
• The Federal Labor Relations Authority which was assigned to shoulder labor
• In addition, the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 attempted to alleviate the
negative impact of the merit system and illuminated prohibited personnel practices.
Furthermore, it included provision for upgrading performance appraisal, merit pay as well
as made it easier to dismiss those whose performance was not satisfactory. ( Barton and
Another development was the Equal Employment Opportunity which was geared
to overcome employment discrimination based on sex, race and other factors. Another
development was "collective bargaining, the practice of involving employee
organizations in making personnel policy. "( Barton and Chappell,1985 p.).
Thel990s are witnessing a call for reinventing government. Advocates of such a
movement call for giving managers more discretion to enable them to make things
happen. They call for advocating an entrepreneurial spirit in order to transform the public
sector. For such a goal to be realized government should be " steering rather than rowing,
encouraging competition rather than monopolies, being mission-driven rather than
rule-driven, meeting the needs of customer not the bureaucracy, focusing on investing,
not spending, decentralizing authority, not centralizing power, and so forth."
As one of the primary function of human resource management, human resource
development (HRD) came a long way to be a distinctive field. " HRD is the part of
human resource management that grew out of the training function." ( Robert, 1999
p. 3). HRD's definition varies from one researcher to another. "The term human resource
development has come to be used in many different contexts. This has led to confusion,
with various groups and individuals applying the level to widely different activities." (
Nadler and Nadler, 1994 p. 1 4).
Groves (1998) stated that often the departments name change but their functions
remain the same. This is one of the problem HRD faces. Many yearsago personnel
management was assigned "the responsibility of developing and implementing policies
and procedures related tothe recruitment, selection, placement, classification,
compensation, and appraisal of all the employees in an organization. If anything had to be
done with regard to employee issues, it was commonly referred to the personnel
department. "( Groves, 1998)
By the mid 1980s this department's name was changed to become the Employee
Relations Department. In most cases such step was taken without changing the functions
of the department. This marked the start of the name game. In the past few years, the title
was replaced once again to become Human Resource Development. "The problem with
the name game is that it sounds as if the department is being progressive, but actually no
change occurs. The result is confusion in the minds of most company employees."
The literature review reveals the following definitions for the term human
• "A planned, continuous effort by management to improve employee competency
levels and organizational performance through training, education and development."
(Mondy and Noe, 1 990 p.2 1 ).
• "An organized learning experience provided by the employer, in a specified period of
time, for the purpose of increasing the possibilities of improving job performance
and providing for growth of individuals." (Nadler and Nadler, 1994 p. 40).
• "The identification of needed skills and active management of employee learning for
the long-range future in relation to explicit corporate and business strategies."
(Armstrong, 1988 p.47).
• "A holistic and integrated approach to improving work-related behavior, using a
range of learning techniques and strategies." (Megginson et ab 1996 p. 38).
• " The organizationally based unit responsible for providing planned adult learning
activities, services, and programs to members, individual and collective, of the
organization, for job or skill training, education and development." (Chalofsky and
Reinhart, 1988 p. 13).
• "An approach for dealing with the human system in a company which emphasizes a
flexible, human asset based, growth oriented approach for integrating various
organizational functions for the purpose of improving individual, group, and
organizational efficiency, effectiveness and productivity." (Groves, 1998 p. 5).
• The American Society for Training and Development concluded that HRD is "the
integrated use of training and development, organizational development of individual,
group, and organizational effectiveness." (Grove, 1998 p. 5).
• "A process of developing and /or unlearning human expertise through organization
development for the purpose of improving performance." (Swanson, 1995 p. 208).
• "Set of systematic and planned activities designed by an organization to provide its
members with the necessary skill to meet current and future job demand." (DeSimone
and Harris, 1998 p.21).
As an activity HRD doesn't begin until the employee joins his or her organization;
however, it continues throughout the particular employee's career regardless of his or her
position. Its programs must be devoted towards job changes and it should integrate and
utilize its resources effectively and efficiently. (DeSimone and Harris, 1998). The human
resources development (HRD) process begins from the strategic plan of the agency which
describes in detail the direction in which it is going, and the resources needed to achieve
such goals. Human resource planning transfers these strategies to specific aims by
determining the quantity and quality of people need in the future. After such steps have
been identified, human resource development transforms such plans and raw materials
furnished by recruitment and basic training through development programs to attain the
organization's present and future requirements (Armstsong, 1988).
When tracing the evolution of HRD as a distinctive field, the literature reveals the
Miller stressed that "it is generally thought that human beings began amassing
knowledge at the beginning of the Stone Age; as they invented tools, weapons, clothing,
shelter, and language, the need for training became an essential ingredient in the march of
civilization." (Miller, 1987 p.20).
For HRD, the pressures of the early years of World War II might be
considered the era of the emergence of the field. Even then, the field was seen as
"training ,"and it was not until 20 years later that it was broadened to "training"
and "development" . It is only toward the end of the 60s that some recognition of
a broader concept of HRD was seen. (Nadler, 1979 p. 28).
HRD activities have always been with us. Most of the architectural achievements
were made by one generation teaching another. Without such practice pyramids of
Mexico and Egypt or the construction of roads and aqueducts by the Romans would be
impossible to achieve.
HRD activities differ; while some were on-the-job, others took a formal
instructional approach in order to reach the desired results which was transferred to us
through the centuries. (Miller, 1987, Nadler and Nadler, 1994).
The beginning of HRD dates back to the early efforts of apprenticeship training
activities in the eighteenth century. The "apprenticeship system was developed whereby
an experienced person passed a long knowledge and skill to the novice, who after a
period of apprenticeship became a journeyman or yeoman." (Miller, 1987).
In the absence of vocational or technical schools, the shopkeeper found it
inevitable to educate and train their own workers. These workers embarked on their
training to learn the particular craft for little or no pay until they mastered their
assignment and became proficient in it. Such a training system was not restricted to
artisans, rather, knowledge was transferred from generation to another in all walks of life.
In fact this model was used in training physicians, attorneys and educators. In the case of
lawyers, it was as recently as the 1 920s that those who are apprenticing in a law firm
were eligible to practice law after they successfully complete a state-supervised exam.
(Miller, 1987, DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
The emergence of manual schools began in 1809 when Dewitt Clinton founded a
vocational school that was privately funded in New York City. Such a school was
devoted to provide the unskilled young people who were unemployed or had criminal
records with occupational training. ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
It was in 1917, when Congress passed the Smith-Hughes Act, that the importance
of vocational education was noticed. This act granted funds that were aimed for state
programs in teacher training, home economics, agricultural trade and industry.
(DeSimoneand Harris, 1998).
The advent of the industrial revolution during the late 1800s initiated the
emergence of the factory schools. During this period scientific management principles
stressed the importance of machines in producing better products efficiently. Although
factories led to increase in production through the utilization of machines and unskilled
workers, there was a significant demand for the engineers, machanicsts and workers and "
skilled mechanics needed to design, build and repair the machines." ( DeSimone and
Harris, 1998 p.).
Toward the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century,
the United States experienced an unprecedented wave of immigration. Some
immigrants brought with them the skills they had learned in the old country.
Both the apprenticeship as well as the factory school emphasized training skilled
workers, hence very few companies offered such training opportunities for semi-skilled
or unskilled workers. This phenomenon was not meant to last long. As a result of the
introduction of the model T car, by Ford in 1913 as well as World War I more training
opportunities were offered. In the case of the Ford model T car it was the first car to be
mass produced using an assembly line, in which production required only the training of
semi-skilled workers to perform several tasks." (Desimone and Harris, 1998 p. 40).
On the other hand, the outbreak of World War I had created a huge demand for
military equipment; therefore factories had to retool their machinery and retrain their
workers, including the semiskilled, to meet the new demand. For instance, the U.S
shipping board was responsible for coordinating the training of shipbuilders to build war
ships. To facilitate the training process, Charles Allen, the Director of Training instituted
a four-step instructional method referred to as "show, tell, do, and check" for all the
training programs offered by the ship board. This technique was later named job
instruction training (J I T) and is still being used today for training workers on the job.
(DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
• "From this time on, HRD was established under the label of training. In subsequent
periods of economic difficulty, HRD was one of the first activities to suffer, creating the
paradox in time of economic distress when there is a greater need for increased and
improved performance , budgets for HRD have been reduced." (Nadler, 1979).
As a result of the abuse of the unskilled workers including the children who
worked in the factory system, four individuals advocated the importance of human factor
to the organization. "They are Robert Owen, Hugo Munsterberg, Mary Parker Follett
and Chester Bernard"(Coulter and Robbins, 1999 p.42).
This human relations movement continued to advocate a more humane working
conditions. "The movement provided a more complex and realistic understanding of
people instead of "cogs" in a factory machine." (Desimone and Harris, 1998).
• The scope of inquiry of the movement expanded to the importance of human behavior
to an organization's success (Coulter and Robbins, 1999).
• The human relations movement continued in the 1940s. Abraham Maslow published
his theory on human needs in 1943 and stated that employees can be motivated by
noneconomic incentives. "He proposed that human needs are arranged in terms of
lesser to greater potency (strength), and under conditions of equal deprivation, the
proponent needs are the most urgent and persistent. Maslow also distinguished between
lower order (basic survival) and higher order (psychological) needs. "( Harmon and
Mayer, 1986 p. 145).
• Douglas MacGregor who is associated with theory X and theory Y,on the other hand,
was optimistic "about possibilities for merging individual and organizational needs in
ways that would satisfy both." (Harmon and Mayer, 1986 p. 29)
• Chris Argyris "sees a lack of congruency between the needs of healthy individuals
and the demands of formal organization. Management may consciously alter those
demands in order to make them more congruent with the needs of healthy individuals."
(Harmon and Mayer, 1986 p. 25). Theorists like Maslow, MacGregor and others
emphasize the notion that organizations can motivate their workers if they appreciate and
tap their worker's varied needs and desires.
• Larger organizations established new training programs as a response to the emerging
demand as a result of the outbreak of World War II. This period witnessed the
establishment of training within industry (TWI) by the federal government. TWI was
meant to be a service that coordinated training programs across defense related industries
as well as allowing "trained company instructors to teach their programs at each
plant."(Miller,1987, DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p.49). "By the time (TWI ) ceased
operation in 1945, it had been instrumental in training 23,000 persons as instructors and
had awarded nearly two million certificates to supervisors who had gone through TWI
programs in more than 16,000 plants, services and unions. "(Miller, 1987 p. 29)
Various defense-related companies established their own training departments with
instructors trained by TWI. These training departments were assigned the role of
designing, organizing and coordinating the training across their organizations.
(DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
The American Society for Training Directors was established in 1942 to set some
standards within this emerging profession. In order to be a member in this organization a
person had to meet the following requisites:
• A college or a university degree plus two years of experience in training or a related
• 5 years of experience in training.
Those who were working in a training function or attending college were permitted to be
associate members (DeSimone and Harris 1998).
During the 1960s and 1970s there was a move toward more employee
participation in many agencies. Such a move necessitates that trainers put emphasis on
coaching and counseling workers. Furthermore, the training and development function
expanded to include interpersonal skills such as problem solving, coaching and group
process facilitation. "This additional emphasis on employee development inspired the
ASTD to professionally designate itself as the American Society for Training and
Development " (DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 56).
Greater changes took place in 1 980s impacting the training and development,
which has led ASTD to approve the term human resource development to encompass this
growth and change. (DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Since recruitment and selection is the cornerstone of the process of attracting
qualified and skilled employees, it is very essential for strategic human resources
management (SHRM). Organizations have many alternatives to fill their existing
vacancies .They can either recruit new blood or attract skilled incumbent employees
through promotion or transfer. In addition they can provide a low-level employee with the
required training or educational opportunities to prepare them for the future needs (
Recruiting filters both who joins the agency and applicant's search process as a
result of who applies for the job. " An organization might try for the cream of the crop by
setting stringent qualifications and spending a good deal of time and money looking for
the best candidate. Or, because of a very tight labor market or the desire to reduce
recruiting costs, the organization may consider lower-quality candidates, creating a larger
applicant pool. Research has found that although increasing qualifications reduces the
number of applicants, it can increase their quality"(Milkovich and Boudreau, 1997
In the public sector Peters, 1995 states that "Merit recruitment appears to imply the more
mechanistic conception of administrators or bureaucrats as value-free administrators of
programs who oversee public policies regardless of their intentions or impacts on society.
It is assumed that sufficient technical criteria guide their choices and that commitment to
a program or rejection of it has little influence on behavior." ( Peters, 1995 p. 89).
Recruiting for HRD positions is faced with difficulties such as:
• The definition, for example, many manage budgets. Thus for recruiting HRD
managers-managing people and developing budget out to be clarified at the outset.
• It is difficult to judge the quality of the graduate when the organization wants to
recruit HDR professionals.
• Diversity of the backgrounds of potential candidate makes the HRD field peculiar.
This makes recruiting difficult when a comparison is made among candidates.
• It is difficult to evaluate the work that a prospective employee should have done.
• Another peculiarity in the field of HRD is the temporary nature of many training
positions. This makes it difficult to determine whether applicants are true professionals or
they want to be in the position until they get promoted.
• Usually it is very difficult to assess HRD people in an interview because of the nature
of their jobs, especially that they can communicate well, dress well, and be aware of the
significance of body language. Such factors necessitate taking further steps to assess their
capabilities accurately. (Brinkerhoff, 1987).
After the recruitment process is over, selection is the last filter prior to offering
employment. At this stage an applicant's characteristics are measured. Such a process
helps in forecasting which applicants could be successful future employees. (Milkovich
The organizational structure of the HRD function varies from organization to
another. While some organizations adopt a centralized approach, others prefer to
decentralize it. Organizational structure is suggested appropriately by the major strategy
the organization embraces. Organizational structure will, hence, specify positions needed
in addition to their responsibilities and reporting relationships and the relevance of HRD
function to other functions in the organization. Validating the chosen structure is an
essential step which ought to be examined based on principles such as " specialization of
work, span of control, impact of technology on required resources, necessary authority
and responsibility to perform identified activities-formal authority, line authority, staff
authority, functional authority, informal authority, unity of command, centralization
versus decentralization" (Pittam, 1987 p. 86).
As a final confirmation that the selected organizational structure is the most suitable to
accomplish the mission and objective of the HRD functions, it should be subjected to the
following questions :
• Whether it is appropriate to the size of the organization.
• Whether it addresses the need of a suitable employee population.
• Whether it avails itself of quality outside resources.
• Whether it eliminates weaknesses of existing structure.
• Whether it is designed to adhere to the present and future objectives of the
• Whether it provides the means to accomplish the HRD mission and key objectives.
• Whether it is compatible with relevant organization policies and procedures.
• Whether it reinforces or supplements, existing HRD programs or should sit.
DeSimone and Harris, 1998 identify three primary functions of HRD; they are: training
and development, organization development, and career development.
(1) Training and Development ( T&D)
This aspect of HRD concentrates on the improvement of the training on the trainee's
knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). While the training process addresses the issue
of providing KSAs that concern a specific task or job, development, on the other hand,
has a long-term focus that is aimed at preparing for future responsibilities and increasing
the trainees' capacity and enhancing their current job performance. Training and
development (T& D) activities start as soon as a new employee joins the organization.
The initial T &D intervention is provided by way of employee orientation and skills
During the process of employee orientation the employee is briefed on important
organizational values and norms. Work relationships are explained and the employee
learns how to function in his job.
Skill and technical training provide the employee with a narrow scope focused on
teaching him or her a particular skill or area of knowledge.
Once the employees master their assigned jobs, HRD activities should concentrate
on development, especially coaching and counseling. In the coaching process, employees
are encouraged to be responsible for their action, solve any arising work-related
problems and strive to improve their level of performance. This process also involve
treating employees as partners in achieving organizational and personal goals.
Counseling, on the other hand, involves helping employees to tackle their personal
problems that may impede their achievement in the work place. Such program may
include addressing such topics as substance abuse, weight control, smoking cessation,
and stress management. HRD developments should coordinate management training
programs to provide managers and supervisors with the knowledge and skills they need to
excel in their positions.
(2) Organization Development
Organization development (OD) is defined as "the process of enhancing the effectiveness
of an organization and the well-being of its members through planned interventions that
apply behavioral science concepts." ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p.43). This function of
HRD focuses on both macro and micro levels of organizational changes.
Macro changes focus on the ultimate improvement of the organization's effectiveness,
while micro changes concern small groups and individuals. HRD professionals play the
role of a change agent in this context. They consult with and advise managers on suitable
strategies to achieve desired results so that change can be facilitated. "The HRD
professionals may also be directly involved in carrying out the intervention strategy such
as facilitating a meeting of the employees responsible for planning and implementing the
actual change process. " (DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
3) Career Development
Career development can be defined as an "on going process by which individuals
progress through a series of stages, each of which is characterized by a relatively unique
set of issues, themes and tasks." (DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 45).
This function of HRD involves career planning and career management.
Career planning is concerned with tasks performed by an employee, with a help
of a mentor and others who evaluate his or her skills and abilities so that a realistic career
plan is formed,whereas, career management focuses on taking the needed action to
achieve the preset plan. Career plans can be implemented through the agency's training
HRD programs can be used to " address a wide range of issues and problems in an
organization. They are used to orient and socialize new employees into the organization,
provide skills and knowledge and help individual and groups become more effectiv." (
DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p.48).
Mondy and Noe, (1990) state that organizations adopt a change strategy to adapt
to the trends and developments in their external and internal environments. Once the need
for change is agreed upon the HRD process adheres to the following steps:
• Determine HRD needs.
• Establish specific objectives .
• Select HRD methods.
• Select HRD media.
• Implement HRD program.
• Evaluate HRD Program.
On the other hand, DeSimone and Harris (1998) provide the following stages for
designing HRD programs.
• Needs assessment phase.
• Design and implementation phase.
• Evaluation phase.
I) The Needs Assessment Phase:
An HRD needs assessment is defined as "a process by which an organization's
HRD needs are identified and articulated." ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 11 2).
It is an initial stage in the HRD process. At this point the focus is on identifying the
difference between what the agency expects to take place and the actual performance of
the employees. The outcomes of such assessment will set the stage for taking the
necessary remedies to avoid such shortcomings. Needs can arise at three levels : the
organization level, the job level, and the individual level. Therefore, the needs assessment
efforts should take place at these three levels. Each of these levels measures a different
aspect of the agency.
While analyzing the organizational needs calls for identifying where in the agency
HRD efforts are needed and under what circumstances will they occur, "the firm's
strategic goals and plans should be studied along with the results of human resource
planning" ( Mondy and Noe,1990).
The job analysis clarifies what must be done so that the task is performed
successfully. On the other hand, the employee analysis provides a clear picture about who
needs HRD intervention and what kind of HRD activity the particular employee
needs. (DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
"An organizational analysis should identify : organizational goals, organizational
resources , organizational climate, and environmental constraints . Each of these factors
provides important information for planning and developing an HRD program "
( DeSimon and Hassis, 1998) .
Task analysis , which is sometimes referred to as operations analysis, is a
systematic way of gathering information about a particular job or group of jobs to
identify in what the employee involved needs to be trained in order to achieve the desired
level of performance. The required data can be obtained through looking at the job
descriptions, job specifications,standards of performance, observing the job, asking
questions, reviewing literature about the job, and gathering inputs from training
committee or conferences. Mondy and Noe, 1990 stressed that "if job descriptions are not
sufficiently comprehensive, they may have to be expanded by adding job information. In
obtaining task analysis data, managers may also refer to job performance standards as
they observe work group performance. In addition, both managers and operative
employees may be interviewed or surveyed to obtain suggestions." ( Monday and Noe,
The third level of analysis is directed toward the person. This level of analysis
aims at answering two persisting questions of who needs to be trained and what sort of
training he or she needs. The person analysis is compared with a preset standard. If the
employee's performance is acceptable, he or she may not be in need of training.
However, if the employee's performance is not satisfactory then further investigation will
be required in order to determine the specific skills and knowledge needed to enhance his
or her performance. Various other methods can be used for this particular analysis such as
tests, assessment centers, and role playing. The outcomes of career planning can be quite
helpful in this regard ( Mondy and Noe, 1990).
Person analysis is best performed by someone with the opportunity to
observe the employee's performance regularly. Traditionally, person has involved
an employee and that employee's immediate supervisor. Depending on the nature
of an individual's work, that employee's peers, customers,and subordinatees may
be in the position to provide information that can be used to identify person-level
needs. In fact an increasingly common performance evaluation approach , called
360 degree performance appraisal, uses as many of these sources as possible to
get a complete picture of an employee's performance ( DeSimone and Harris,
Since HRD efforts have financial implications, the management and HRD staff
have to prioritize the outcomes of HRD analysis. They will have to make a decision with
regard to the needed resources to start their HRD intervention such as what equipment,
materials, facilities, skilled employees, travel, and consultant fees ( DeSimone and Harris,
The process of prioritizing the HRD needs should adopt a participative approach,
hence, inputs ought to be gathered from the various areas of the organization. This
approach is likely to result in more employees' support since they will perceive the HRD
efforts in a positive manner and will favor it because they will think that it is beneficial
for them and the organization ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
" One way to continuously reflect the need of the employees and assist in
prioritizing needs is to establish an HRD advisory committee. The role of such committee
is meet regularly and review needs assessment and evaluation data and offer advice on
the type and content of HRD programs to be offered" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998
Such a committee should be composed of members from the various departments
within the organization. Such diversity provides different ways of thinking about the
HRD needs and broaden the support for the HRD efforts within the organization.
( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
II) Design and Implementation Phase
Based on the outcomes of the first stage in the HRD process, need assessment
should reveal to the planners where an HRD program is required and what kind of HRD
programs are needed, for whom it is required and conditions under which it should occur.
In addition the first stage will reveal to the top management and HRD staff the priority of
The key activities involved in designing and implementing an HRD program are:
setting objectives; selecting the trainer or vendor; developing a lesson plan;
selecting a program methods and techniques; preparing materials; scheduling the
program and implementing the program ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 127).
The objectives must be stated clearly and concisely to avoid misinterpretation and
eventually lead to effective evaluation. The HRD professional must therefore determine
the particular program's objectives. An objective is defined as a "description of a
performance you want the learners to be able to exhibit before you consider them
competent" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Since need assessment data reveals the deficiency or the challenges that the
organization ought to address, such data can be helpful in defining program objectives.
"Useful objectives describe the performance the learners (trainees) should be able
to do, the conditions under which they must do it, and the criteria ( how well they must
do it) used in judging its success" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 129).
If objectives lack these three elements, they would be ambiguous and will lead to
misinterpretation, hence, frustration, confusion and conflict to those who interpret it
differently. Even though the process of writing the objectives of the HRD programs is
challenging task, it is a crucial element of effective HRD ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
After stating the HRD objectives clearly, many steps should be taken concerning
the development and delivery of the programs; for instance, a decision would have to be
taken whether to design the program in-house or seek outside professional assistance.
Among the factors that might influence an agency's purchasing decision of an
HRD program are " Personal contact or past experience with an outside vendor,
geographical proximity to the vendor, local economic conditions and the presence of
government incentives to conduct training" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 pi 27).
Once the agency is determined to seek outside help in delivering its HRD
program, a vendor must be picked. Such steps should take into consideration the agency's
needs and goals and match it with the capabilities of those who are going to be assigned
the task of delivering the program. There are uncountable criteria for arriving at such a
decision which in turn vary from agency to another. Generally speaking they normally
cover aspects such as " cost, credentials, background, experience, philosophy, delivery
method, content, actual product, results, support, and request for proposal." (DeSimone
and Harris, 1998 pi 28).
If the agency is of an opinion that it will design its HRD program or has
purchased an HRD program, the issue of selecting a trainer becomes apparent. The trainer
should communicate his or her knowledge effectively and use several instructional
techniques. In addition he or she should be able to motivate the trainees and enjoy good
interpersonal skills (DeSimone and Harris).
To translate program objectives into excitable training sessions, the
development of a lesson plan is recommended. A lesson plan is a guide for the
actual delivery of the training content. Creating a lesson plan requires the trainer
to determine in advance what is to be covered and how much time to devote to
each part of the session ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 129).
There are many methods used to deliver the HRD programs in both on and off the
job training. On-the-Job training (OJT) refers to providing training to a particular
employee internally on his desk, machine and so on. This method is common in all
organizations and any one-on-one training opportunity whether between coworkers or
between an employee and his supervisor can be considered OJT. Such programs are
assigned to a competent trainer who uses correct instructional techniques. Some of the
identifiable techniques to deliver this type of programs are job rotation, job instructional
training, mentoring and coaching. Among the advantages that OJT has over the classroom
• OJT facilitates the transfer of learning to do the job because the trainee has an
immediate opportunity to practice the work task on the job.
• OJT reduces training costs because no training facilities are needed. ( DeSimone and
On the other hand,OJT doesn't come without shortcomings. As a training method
it has several limitations which include the following:
• The job site may have physical constraints that could inhibit learning e.g. noise and
• Using expensive equipment for training can result in costly damage and disruption of
• Using OJT while customers are present may inconvenience them and temporarily
reduce the quality of service.
• OJT involving heavy equipment or chemicals may threaten the safety of other who are
working in close proximity( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
TheClassroom method on the other hand, is provided away from the job place.
This method has several advantages in comparison with the OJT. Among these
advantages that the class room method provides are:
• Classroom settings permit the use of a variety of training techniques such as video,
lecture, discussion, role playing, and simulation.
• The environment can be designed or controlled to minimize distractions and create a
climate conducive to learning.
• Classroom settings can accommodate larger numbers of trainees than the typical
on-the-job training setting, allowing for more efficient delivery of training. ( DeSimone
and Harris, 1998).
Along with such advantages that the classroom method provides there are some
accompanying limitations such as "increased costs and dissimilarity to the job setting,
making transfer of training more difficult. Five primary types of classroom training
include: lecture, discussion, audiovisual methods, experiential methods, and computer-
based training" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
The responsibility of implementing the designed HRD program lies with the
trainer . At this point several points must be resolved. In the case of the OJT a number of
issues pertain to the physical environment such as distractions, and interruptions . For the
classroom setup on the other hand several factors should be proactively anticipated and
solved such as seating, comfort level, and physical distractions. In addition the trainer can
plan the following:
• Get the program off to a good start and maintain it.
• Establish clear expectations by preparing a course outline or syllabus that explains
the purpose, objective, topics, and requirements that establish class norms for relevant
issues ( punctuality, participation, participant interaction, and so on).
• Try to determine each trainee's capacity and motivation to learn ( i.e. conduct an
initial exercise or pretest to session).
• Make every effort to build a climate characterized by mutual respect and openness.
This in turn will make it easier for trainees to seek help when they need it( DeSimone and
Ill) Evaluation Phase:
Creating a positive image about HRD is not possible unless there are tangible
results from such efforts. To build such an impression the HRD department "must
document its efforts and clearly show that it provides a valuable service. The
documentation should be in the form of memoranda to management, written reports of
activities, and any other evidence that indicates a quality product" ( Mondy and Noe,
To ensure credibility, the organization must evaluate the outcomes of its HRD
efforts. HRD evaluation is defined as "the systematic collection of descriptive and
judgmental information necessary to make effective training decisions related to the
selection, adoption value, and modification of various instructional activities" (DeSimone
and Harris, 1998).
Four reasons stand behind conducting HRD evaluation; they are as follows:
• Training is functional and relevant only when it is evaluated.
• Evaluation can build credibility.
• If HRD staff cannot substantiate its contribution to the organization, its funding and
programs may be cut during the budgeting process, especially when the organization
faces tough times.
• Senior management often wants to know the benefits of HRD programs. ( DeSimone
and Harris, 1998).
The reasons behind the lack of attention given to the evaluation phase of the
HRD process may be:
• Those associated with HRD program may be afraid of criticism and program cut if the
evaluation shows that the program was not effective.
• Conducting an evaluation is not an easy process.
• Many factors beyond the program itself ( including the economy, equipment, policies
and procedures, other HR efforts, and resource availability) can affect whether employee
performance improves, thus making it difficult to evaluate the impact of training
(DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Regardless of such reasons, the evaluation phase remains important and crucial to
ensure the accountability and effectiveness of the HRD efforts carried on in the
organization. From an ethical standpoint HRD specialist must prove the credibility and
contribution of their program to the organization. ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Several models are available for HRD evaluation. The most renowned one was
introduced by Kirkpatrick. Based on Kirkpatrick's model, HRD efforts can be evaluated
" according to any or all of four criteria: reaction, learning, job behavior, and results"
( DeSimone and Harris, 1998p.l44).
In the reaction, the trainee is asked about the program and its effectiveness based
on the trainee's perception. Those who have positive impressions about the program tend
to encourage more employees to attend future programs. However, negative reaction
toward the program may discourage potential trainees from attending future program and
breed reluctance to utilize the skills, or knowledge obtained from the program. Evaluating
the HRD at this level doesn't indicate whether the program met its goals beyond ensuring
participant satisfaction. At the learning level, the evaluator is keen to find out whether the
trainee learned what he or she ought to learn based on the preset objectives. This may
require conducting a quiz or test.
Measuring the job behavior level answers whether the trainee utilizes what he or
she learned from the program on the job. If the trainees don't transfer the outcomes of the
program to their job there will not be any impact on the employee's or the organization's
The result level of this model measues whether the organization effectiveness has
improved as a result of the HRD efforts. Such judgment can be obtained by way of
measuring the efficiency, profitability, and customer satisfaction. This level is very
challenging to assess especially that there may be factors beyond the staffs performance,
which can affect organizational performance. At this level both economic as well as the
other data are normally gathered and scrutinized ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
Kirkpatrick's model provides a useful way of looking at the possible
consequences of training and reminds us that "HRD efforts often have multiple
objectives. "Implicit in the model is that each succeeding level incorporates the one prior
to it, finally culminating in what many people consider to be the ultimate contribution of
any organizational activity: improving the organization's effectiveness." ( DeSimone and
Harris, 1998 p. 147).
In addition to Kirkpatrick's model there are several models. DeSimone and
Harris (1998) indicated that many HRD professionals suggested modifications to
Kirkpatrick's four level models. These include:
• Expanding the reaction level to include assessing the participants' reaction to the
training methods and efficiency.
• Splitting the reaction level to include assessing participants' perceptions of enjoyment,
usefulness,and difficulty of the program.
• Adding a fifth level (beyond results) to address the societal contribution and outcomes
created by an HRD program.
• Adding a fifth (beyond results) to specifically address return on investment. (Desimone
and Harris, 1998).
Beside Kirkpatrick's model, there are other models such as the CIPP (Context,
Input, Process, Product) model. In this model the evaluation process focuses on analyzing
the needs, checking the available resources specified for training, for instance budgets,
collecting feedback to those who implement the program, and finally to what extent it
was successful in meeting program objectives. Brinkerhoff, on the other hand, extended
the evaluation phase to cover six steps:
• Goal Setting: What is the need?
• Program Design: what will work to meet the need?
• Program Implementation: is it working, with the focus on the implementation of the
• Immediate Outcomes: Are the participants using what they learned?
• Impacts and worth: Did it make a worthwhile difference to the organization?
(DeSimone and Harris, 1998).
In order to conduct a proper evaluation multi-source data need to be collected.
Such needed data can be provided by way of conducting interviews, surveys,
observations, tests, and simulations or relying on archival data. The types of data
collected for such motive include economic data, system wide data and data about the
individual. " HRD professionals are often asked to justify the allocation of resources.
This involves a financial assessment of the impact of HRD programs. This assessment
can be done by evaluating training costs, using cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analysis,
or by translating a trained employee's productivity into dollar terms through utility
analysis" ( DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 152).
The quality of the HRD specialist available in the agency to guide and implement
the HRD policy is a crucial element. Organizations that select unqualified individuals to
shoulder the responsibilities must reap the consequences and are likely not going to see
tangible results from their HRD efforts.
The roles of an HRD specialist can be categorized into three major roles: learning
specialist, administrator, and consultant. As a learning specialist an HRD developer has
three subroles such as being an instructor, a curriculum builder, and methods and
materials developer. However within his or her role as an administrator, the HRD
specialist adheres to subroles such as being a developer, supervisor, maintainer, and
arranger (Nadler, 1979, Nadler and Nadler, 1994).
Addison and Haig on the other hand state that the HRD manager's responsibilities
• Giving work direction and providing planning for HRD function.
• Managing the performance of the HRD staff.
• Linking HRD to other groups within the organization.
• Acquiring resources for HRD.
• Managing the budget for HRD.
• Creating a productive and efficient work environment.
• Developing an HRD department strategy and structure.
• Developing long-range plans for HRD.
• Setting HRD policy ( Addison and Haig, 1994).
On the other hand as a consultant, the HRD developer acts as an "expert, advocate,
stimueator and a change agent" ( Nadler, 1979, Nadler and Nadler, 1994).
The line managers play several roles in the human resource functions and
activities such as :
• Information source
• Reality tester
• Human Resource Manager and employee development specialist
• Role model
• Systems supporter
Both line managers and HR professionals complement each other; therefore they
must join hands and work together to improve the human resource systems at their
organizations. Line managers must play an active role so that positive change can be
achieved (Groves, 1998).
HRD professionals are operating in a challenging environment. In the United
States HRD professionals are facing an environment that is characterized by :
• Changing workforce demographics;
The workforce is becoming more diverse than ever before. Such a trend is likely to
continue. But such racial-ethnic shift is not going to take place uniformly. This will
introduce several consequences for HRD professionals such as :
1) Addressing racial and ethnic prejudices and cultural insensitivity and language
2) Providing development opportunities to prepare women for senior positions and
protect them against sexual harassment.
3) Adhering to learning-related needs of older workers.
• A competitive global economy:
This will necessitate that organizations educate and train and retrain their human
capital. Organizations will need to institute quality improvement processes, and adopt
change programs. In addition, the employees ought to be able to appreciate cultural
differences, so that they can communicate and conduct business with different countries.
• A need for life-long learning:
This relates to the gap between the education system output and the employers
• Eliminating the skill gap:
Such a need for continuous learning will lead organizations to invest in HRD.
This continuous learning can be viewed differently by different employees; therefore,
HRD professionals need to offer a wide selection of learning opportunities that suit
various kind of employees. Some organizations are establishing multimedia learning
centers to meet this challenge.
• Facilitating organizational learning:
Organizations will have to cope with the environment in which they operate.
Therefore they will have to consider major changes so that they will be able to learn,
adapt and change. Senge (1990) "advocates that a learning organization must embrace the
following five principles: system thinking, personal mastery, mental models, building
shared vision,and team learning." (DeSimone and Harris, 1998 p. 159).
" Given the dramatic changes which companies face today, line managers and
human resource professionals need to recognize that without good quality employees,
they are unable to perform their jobs. People are the company. Steps which line managers
and human resource professionals can make to improve the knowledge, skills, abilities,
attitudes and behaviors of their subordinates will have tremendous payoff for the
company, for work groups and for individual employees. This the central theme behind
Human Resource Development" (Groves, 1998).
The shared complaints between line managers and human resource professionals
may illustrate the present status of HRD. Groves, (1998) grouped line
managers'complaints about HRD professional into three categories: general complaints,
behavior based complaints, and complaints about the quality of HRD professionals. Each
category of these complaints is briefly elaborated below.
• General Complaints:
This refers to the lack of information line managers have about HRD. They
complain that human resource departments don't express their mission, purpose, and
activities well enough for them. Such lack of clarity leaves line managers unable to grasp
how HRD relates to personnel management or employee relations. As a result, most line
managers do not view HRD as part of their job and tend to view their role as managers of
the task of production rather than being people managers. Line managers don't consider
HRD as part of their job so they pay marginal attention to HRD activities. Grove (1998
p. 8) argues that "unless Human Resource Resource professionals can impress upon line
managers the important role line managers play in the creation and implementation of
human resource systems and activities in their company, the objectives of human
resource development will never be achieved."
• Behavior Based Complaints:
In this context line managers complain that human resource departments are not
client oriented. They pursue their task as if line managers were unimportant, a matter
which is a prime cause for HRD failure. Line managers are in position to influence or
create demand for HRD services because they send their employees to attend training
programs carried out by the training department. They also evaluate, guide, and coach
their subordinates. Therefore they not only consume services but they evaluate them as
well. As a result they become hostile and uncooperative if they don't get the treatment
Line managers view human resource development as being slow in their response
to the requests which they forward to it in addition to being rigid when it comes to
interpreting policies and procedures, inconsistent in actions. They tend to complicate
things rather than ease them. It is such negative impressions that keep line managers
away from getting involved in human resource activities because according to them
human resource departments are failing to provide them the needed support.
• Complaints about the quality of HRD professionals:
Line managers comments about HR professionals in their organizations include:
1) Because HR professionals lack understanding of the operational side of their
organization, they have a narrow view about how things work and where they fit. This
results in a gap between them and the line managers they serve. Therefore human
resource departments will benefit from an intimate knowledge of their clients.
2) While many HR professionals are much younger compared to their line managers
peers, they are mostly graduates of social science majors such as business administration,
psychology, economics, liberal arts etc. Line managers on the other hand, come out of
engineering programs or were subjected to several technical training programs. This
educational background result in variations between these two segments.
3) HR professionals are " not professionalized"; this indicates that they don't have
adequate professional training in their field to enable them to perform the type of task
they should (Groves, 1998).
Line managers on the other hand, don't go without complaints from their HR
professionals counterparts. Among these complaints are:
1) Line managers do not understand what HR professionals do.
2) HR professionals are not appreciated by line managers.
3) There is a lack of involvement from line managers in human resource activities.
4) When dealing with HR professionals, line managers are stubborn and don't show any
Whatever, the complaints may be, it remains the human resource department's
responsibility to educate its clients ~ line managers. In addition HR professionals must
take time to communicate with people and gather feedback about their clients' ideas,
concerns, and complaints. They should also explore projects of mutual interest with them.
HR professionals must be open to new ideas and should increase their interaction with
line managers to create flexibility between both sides (Groves, 1998)
Many of the problems that HRD departments are an outcome of the models they
use to attend to their task. One of these models is the "Single Fighter Model." Based on
this model the HRD department performs all the HRD functions and activities
single-handed. This approach breeds little communication and involvement with line
managers and therefore results in failure to broaden the base of the organization-wide
The other model which HRD departments embrace is the "Post Office Model".
The approach according to this model is to serve as a middle man. This approach
deprives the HRD department the chance of taking initiatives and end up being
merely passing messages received from line managers and answering their
inquieries. ( Grove, 1998)
Chalofsky and Reinhart,1988, indicate that ten elements are considered essential to the
success of an effective HRD function. They are mentioned below:
• The HRD function has the expertise to diagnose problems in order to determine
appropriateness of potential solutions.
• The HRD manager maintains an active network with other key managers in the
organization. There is a corporate training and development mission statement or
corporate HRD policy.
• The evaluation of training focuses on behavioral change or organizational results.
• The HRD manager routinely participates in corporate strategy sessions with other key
staff persons and session managers.
• Training needs associated with major changes in the organization are anticipated.
• Allocation of HRD resources are based at least in part on the priorities of the
• The HRD function conducts needs assessments to determine organizational
• The roles, responsibilities, and priorities of the HRD function are clearly defined.
• The HRD management and staff routinely meet to discuss problems and progress with
current programs ( Chalofsky and Reinhart,1988).
Alyousef states that "most economists would probably agree that is the human
resources of a nation, not its capital or its material resources, that ultimately determine the
character and pace of its economic and social development." ( Alyousef, 1995 p. 95).
Human resources is not viewed as a mere factor of production as it use to be the
case in traditional management. The modern approach views the human capital as an
investment that ought to yield a return if it is managed effectively and efficiently ( Altaib,
Altaib, 1993, stated six factors that lead to effective management and
development of the organization's human resources;they are as follows:
• Human Resource Planning.
• Establishing and developing an integrated motivation scheme.
• Adopt an integrated work systems and constructive measures for performance
• Training should be an on-going process for all employees.
• Adapt a participative management approach.
• Put emphasis on the leadership role in creating the suitable environment for
developing human resources. ( Altaib,1993)
The USA pattern of the HRD field generally consists of components such as
training and development, organizational development, and career development. It is also
worth mentioning that "HRD as defined in the United State may not be an appropriate
definition for all countries. " (Peterson, 1997)
Peterson (1997) also stated that employees' beliefs are shaped by
multidimentional cultural frames such as national, societal values as well as
organizational ones. However, she made it clear that "It is as yet improven that
organizational, occupational and national cultures contributes in individualized manners
to the culture of work. Rather the culture of work is a blend of all these variables"(
International HRD on the other hand has four phases that focus on "who is
involved, what is to be done, how it is to be done and when it is to be done;"
(Peterson, 1997). In their studies of differences in perceptions of human resource
development across countries, Osman-Gani and Jacobs (1996) found that differences in
perceptions about HRD existed among managers in multinational enterprises and referred
such differences to culture.
From an Islamic perspective the Holy Quran emphasizes the importance of HRD
and means to enrich individual performance by way of education and training. The Holy
Quran clearly states that there is no comparison between those who are educated and
those who are ignorant. In fact the Muslim is required to seek knowledge in a continuous
manner. In this context the Holy Quran says "and say: My Lord! increase me in
knowledge" ( the Holy Quran 20:1 14).
In addition, the Holy Sayings of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) also stressed on the
necessity to seek knowledge. These advices encourage the Muslim by saying: "seeking
knowledge is a must on every Muslim," Also, "seek knowledge from cradle to grave."
The Holy Sayings stress that there is a reward for the knowledgeable " It was narrated by
Abi Imamah that the prophet ( PBUH) said: Allah and his Angels and the creatures of
Heavens and Earth even the ant in its own nest and even the fish in the sea, do bless the
one who teaches people the Good." ( Tarmazi)
In the United Kingdom HRD is looked at as a relatively young and
predominantly western concept that has emerged from management thinking and
has been shaped by values and events as Europe has transformed itself over the
last fifty years. This view is based on the argument that as one era presents a need,
solutions are created to meet that need, which create a new approach and
prespective ( Lee and Stead, 1998 p. 297).
During the post-World War II years, the European nations focused on
restructuring their social, economic and political systems and their objectives were
targeted towards ensuring the basic needs such as shelter, food , and warmth. Therefore,
right after the war
the picture in UK is one of focused on national strategy, tight organizational
structures, and hardworking individuals preoccupied with regaining stability. The
nation was united at national, organizational, and individual levels in regaining
stability and social care, the focus was clearly on the management of human
resources rather than development. (Lee and Stead, 1998)
The 60s witnessed the implementation of the Industrial Training Act of 1964. This
introduced a systematic approach towards training the workforce in job- related skills.
Several professional institutes emerged during this period and participated in reinforcing
this direction. The Institute of Training and Development (ITD), and Institute of
Personnel Management (IPM) are examples of such professional bodies. While this
approach was acceptable at the national level, it was not met with the same reaction at the
organizations and individual levels because these segments were preoccupied with
finding ways that might enable them to shift from processes that are geared towards
settlement and stability to ones that lead to developing and achieving more. During the
1970s and mid 1980s:
the wide diversity of approach that characterizes HRD in the U.K. started to
become evident. At national and organizational levels, economic recession called
for greater efficiency and increased profit and productivity while retaining tight
control on public spending. With the decline of manufacturing and heavy industry
and the growth in service industry there was a need to pare down the workforce to
economize and provide multiskilled workers who could work across functions and
fill a variety of roles. There was, therefore, a need to introduce strategies and
provisions that would meet the developing needs of organizations in the age of
advancing technology. At the same time, in all but the large yet-to-be privatized
organizations, there was a move away from in-house training and toward bringing
in already-skilled labor. Individuals became important stakeholders in their own
development, and in finding their voice they demanded to work that brought
personal recognition and responsibilities for achievement and self-fulfillment.
(Lee and Stead, 1998)
The introduction of the Manpower Services Commission in 1981 called for
emphasis on broadening opportunities for young and adult citizens. In view of the
transition period resulting from the worldwide technological changes taking place
through out the world and the fact that manufacturing was being redistributed on a
worldwide scale, emphasis was geared toward an educated, trained and flexible labor
force. Therefore, there was a strive to introduce a national system of vocational education
and training. This vision was aiming to expand all professions within a parameter of
agreed upon standards of competence (Lee and Stead, 1998). During the mid 1980s to mid
the concept of TQM acknowledged the need for strategic process rather than
quick fixes and aimed to respond to the challanges and changes of the external
environment through systems that would be both profit- and needs driven. It was
believed that the dual approach of creating fit, lean structures and systems to
maximize profit while establishing a continuous learning environmemt would lead
to a win-win formula benefiting national, organizational, and individual needs.
The need to develop, adapt, and grow with change rather than react to it also gave
birth to the idea of organizational transformation and to a growing interest in the
concept of the learning company (Lee and Stead p. 299).
Also this period saw the merger between ITD and IPM to establish the Institute of
Personnel Development (IPD) which stressed the notion of wanting to integrate and "it
also reflected the increasing unease that theoreticians and practitioners had with the
difficult-to-sustain historical dichotomy between HRD and HRM" (Lee andStead,1998
Also this period saw an implementation of a national system of National
Vocational Qualification Standard (NVQS).
During the period from the mid 1990s a new party came into the scene and therefore
"Growing concern about societal, environmental, and technological changes culminated
in a dramatic change of government to one in which continuous development of human
resources was stated as a strategic plank policy'XLee and Stead, 1998 p.299).
In the case of HRD in South Africa, difficulty exists in the area of providing equal
opportunity for acquiring technical and managerial skills as well as "the individual need
for obtaining life skills and increased self confidence: and an organizational culture and
reward system which has limited opportunity for growth." ( Horwitz et al.,1996 p. 149)
In term of Gulf Cooperation Council Countries (GCCC) HRD can help planners and
policy makers in "systematically planning for the replacement of expatriate personnel
with national employees to higher level key positions'^ Groves, 1998). As well as in the
process of nationalizing the workforce in these countries at large.
In the earlier stages of development, these countries faced an acute shortage of
manpower and had no choice but to close the gap through opening the door for migrant
laborers from various external labor markets in order to stir the wheel of development and
initiate the needed infrastructure projects.
Formal education started at different times in the GCCC. In Kuwait formal
education started in the 1930s; however, primary school education was universally
available in 1952. On the other hand the State of Qatar started in 1951 for boys and in
1953 for girls. The first school in the United Arab Emirates was established in Sharjah in
1953 and shortly after that schools were built until every emirate had at least one school
except Abu Dhabi where formal education began in 1960. ( Birks and Sinclair, 1980).
The State of Bahrain took the lead in term of their early start in formal education.
Rumaihi and Winder have observed that the first modern school in Bahrain a part
from Kuttab schools, was a girls' primary school opened in 1892 by the American
Arab Mission. Other commentators have seen 1919 as the time modern education
began in Bahrain, when a school was financed by merchants of the community. In
many events education made an early start in Bahrain relative to other Gulf States
( Birks and Sinclair, 1980).
Formal education in Saudi Arabia date back to 1949-1950. Below the higher
education, the Saudi educational system consists of four levels: the pre-school,
elementary, intermediate, and the secondary level. ( Al-farsy,1990).
Formal education in the Sultante of Oman began in the late 60s . Prior to 1970 there were
three primary schools in Muscat, Mattrah, and Salalah. These schools had 909 pupils and
not more than 30 teachers (Birks and Sinclair, 1980, Ministry of Information, 1998).
"There are now 958 state schools providing education at the primary level, 472
preparatory, and 168 secondary levels. In addition there are 123 schools under
construction or planned for this year. In the private sector, five new schools were opened
in 1997, making a total of 1 1 1 private schools regulated by the Ministry." ( Ministry of
The Ministry of Higher Education was established in 1994. This agency is
responsible for supervising higher education institutions and centers of scientific
research. In addition it is responsible for formulating education policies and
administering the Law on Grants and Scholarship. The Sultan Qaboos University was
opened in 1986. The university has seven faculties: Education and Islamic Sciences,
Medicine, Engineering, Science , Agriculture, Arts, and Commerce and Economics.
( Ministry of Information, 1998).
With the exception of Iraq, Algeria, and the former PDRY, Middle Eastern
countries have largely ignored the problem of illiterate adults, choosing instead to
concentrate resources on educating children. Here the record is more encouraging,
although some countries of the region still have much unfinished business (see
table 5.2). Overall, 98% of children are now enrolled in primary school.
Enrollment is nearly universal in all countries except Saudi Arabia, Morocco, the
Sudan, and Yemen. The most rapid progress has been in Oman, which went from
essentially no schooling (3% enrollment) to nearly universal enrollment in one
generation. (Richards and Waterbury, 1998).
The researcher was unable to come across relavant literature that reveals
indicators about the outcomes of the nationalization of work efforts in the GCCC except
for the State of Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Sultanate of Oman.
In the case of the State of Qatar, the literature reveals that the government sector takes
the first place in employing nationals. Such a process is called Qatarization compared to
the private and quasi-government sector. The nationals represent 49% in 1994. In
addition the literature indicates that there is no national plan for Qatarizing the workforce.
The participation of male national employees represents 30% while the female national
employees represent 19%. In term of their distribution within the various ministries that
compose the government sector, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes the first place, 75%
of its employees are nationals. The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs which was
established in 1992 comes in the last place with only 29% of its employees nationals.
Among the leading forces for such low representation of national employees in Qatar,
the literature reveals the following:
• Scarcity in quantity and quality of needed manpower within the population.
• Low level of female participation among the national employees.
• Lack of congruence between the education and training policies with that of the
Qatarization of jobs policies.
• Lack of national plan for Qatarizing the workforce in the government sector.
It is worth mentioning that the researcher was unable to secure recent publications
to follow the latest development in this area since then.
In the case of Saudi Arabia the literature shows that the private sector employs 95% of
the overall migrant laborers in the country. The sixth development plan included the issue
of the national manpower as one of the core objectives. In addition the manpower council
has approved a long term strategy that aims to qualify and develop the national
manpower. Among its short term goals the strategy aims to :
• Cut down the level of recruitment of expatriate workers.
• Limit certain categories of jobs to nationals.
• Create congruence between the outcomes of the education and training policies and
the labor market requirements.
• Increase the productivity levels of the national employees.
In the long run,this strategy aims to achieve efficient and effective utilization of the
Attempts to Saudize the private sector are faced with several obstacles such as:
• The expatriate workers are competing with the national workers.
• The Saudization process is limited to large private enterprises.
• Most of the private enterprises are small in size and have low capital and therefore
can't afford to offer suitable compensation schemes for nationals.
• Apprehensions that Saudization will make the private sector unable to compete.
• Lack of congruence between the education and training system and the labor market
The literature also revealed that most of the national employees are employed by
the public sector. Most nationals prefer to enroll in the government sector due to the
• High level of pay.
• High degree of security.
• Less working hours.
• Longer annual leaves (AlSultan, 1998).
With regard to the nationalization of the workforce, Omanization in the case of
the Sultanate of Oman, the literature reveals that the country is also keen to nationalize its
workforce in an incremental manner so that productivity levels don't lag. The outcomes
of this experience will be elaborated in the analysis and finding section of this study.
DATA ANALYSIS AND FINDINGS:
I) The Political Determination:
Modern Oman has emerged since July 23, 1970 under the leadership of H.M
Sultan Qaboos bin Said who upon his accession to power addressed his people and said "
I will proceed as quickly as possible to transform your life into a prosperous one with a
bright future. Every one of you must play his part towards this goal. Our country in the
past was famous and strong. If we work in unity and cooperation, we will regenerate that
glorious past and we will take a respectable place in the world" ( Ministry of
Information, 1995 - July 27,1970 ).
H.M embarked on modernization within the parameters of the national culture,
which takes its roots from the precepts of Islam, the Omani Arab reality and the customs
and traditions of the community. Van Wart states that:
Nothing is more important to human beings than their values, beliefs, and
underlying assumptions. On a grand and profoundly important level, they
determine our explanation for existence. They are the cultural glue of civilizations
and the organizations within them, and the fundamental building blocks of
culture. (Van Wart, 1998).
Pertaining to the issue of human resources development H.M Sultan Qaboos set
the mission clearly and stressed the importance of developing the human capital of the
country. In the philosophy of modern Oman, the objective of development is to provide
the citizens with decent life and good standards of living.
One can clearly trace a genuine commitment and continuous determination and
willingness to developing the human resources of the country. Such an attitude is often
stressed in His Majesty's royal speeches as well as being one of the core objectives of the
five consecutive five year development plans. The following excerpts from various royal
speeches of H.M Sultan given at different occasions are provided to support such an
• Education was my great concern, and I saw that it was necessary to direct efforts to
spread education. We have given the Ministry of Education the opportunity and
supplied it with our capabilities to break the chains of ignorance. Schools have been
opened regardless; the important thing is that there should be education, even under
the shadow of trees (Hammoudi,1993,
Ministry of Information, 1995 -Nov. 18, 1972).
• "We live in an age of science and education. Education and work are our only means
of progress and development within the context of our Islamic Civilization" (Ministry
of Information, 1995- Sep.ll, 1986).
• " We believe in the role of Omani youth in building the country, we call upon them
to set a good example in adopting a responsible sense of duty and in seeking
perfection in their work" ( Ministry of Information, 1995- Nov. 18. 1986).
Miller stated that:
Begining at the National Day in 1987, His Majesty announced a major
program to Omanize the labor force. This program, unlike that tried in many other
countries, would not be at the risk of lost productivity or effeciency. In other
words, Omanization would be a planned and rational process, of recruiting
educated and trained Omanis into public and private sector employment and
retaining them in those positions (Miller, 1 99 1 ).
• " In addition to the step already taken towards Omanization we must continue to
substitute Omani for foreign labour in both the government and private sectors. But
this must not be at the expense of qualification and performance." ( Ministry of
Information, 1 995- Nov. 11,1988).
• "Omanization is a fundamental and vital prerequiste without which we can't secure
the cherished honourable standard of living for the coming generations" ( Ministry of
Information, 1995 - Feb. 18, 1990).
• "The building of the Omani nation, the shaping of their character through education
and cultures, with training and qualifications, is in the forefront of our noble cause,
for which we shall always strive" ( Ministry of Information, 1995- Nov. 18, 1993).
• "We call upon Omani women everywhere, in the villages and the cities, in both
urban and bedu communities, in the hills and the mountains, to roll up their sleeves
and contribute to the process of economic and social development" ( Ministry of
Information, 1 995- Nov. 1 8, 1 994).
In addition, the five consecutive five year development plans of the country
reiterate the issue of human resources development as one of the core objectives of the
plans. For instance the fifth five year development plan ( 1996-2000) indicates that the
human resource development strategy consists of the following components:
• Achieve a balance between the population growth and economic growth by way of
reducing the population growth to 3% in the year 2020 through awareness efforts.
• Provide health care and reducing mortality rate.
• Spread, encourage and develop education.
• Establish a post-secondary educational system that is capable of providing the major
specialities demanded by the national economy and provide all assistance needed in
carrying out research studies in the social and economic fields.
• Create employment opportunities for Omanis in both the public and the private sector,
train and qualify them in accordance to the requirements of the labor market in
various fields and skills, and ensure them a suitable income based on performance and
• Provide a technical education system and vocational training in order to prepare and
qualify manpower that is able to adapt to the requirement of the labor market
(Ministry of Development, 1996).
From the above mentioned citations it is evident that:
1) There is a political willingness and determination with regard to the need for human
2) The human resources development ought to be implemented within the parameters of
Omani culture which derives its roots from the precepts of Islamand customa and values
of the Omani Arab traditions.
3) HRD efforts don't differentiate between genders; therefore both males and females are
offered the opportunity to be educated and trained so that they can be productive and
serve their country in a positive way. Al Maskary (1992 p. 155) states that "despite
Oman's characteristics as a traditional society, the enrollment of Omani female students
at the college is higher than the average of South East Asian countries."
4) The citizens whether students or employees are called upon to:
A) Make use of all the education and training apportunities provided to them in order
to serve their country better.
B) Maintain a positive attitude toward their role and responsibilities.
C) Benefit from the methods of science and technology and be proud of their heritage in
the same time.
II) HRD: A Structural and Legislative Dimension
To translate the political will toward the HRD policy and implementation to tangible
results, the structural dimension of planning and implementing the HRD policy within the
civil service sector is adhered to through a process of coordination between the following
respective government bodies:
• The Council of Ministers.
• The Civil Service Council.
• The Ministry of Civil Service.
• The Ministry of Higher Education.
• The Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, and Vocational Training.
• The Omanization Follow Up Committee.
• Within the various ministries and other public agencies, the Department of Personnel
Affairs, the Department of Training or any other relevant department or section to
which this responsibility is assigned. In addition to the Education and Culture
Committee one of the specialized committee of Majlis Alshura also furnishes some
recommendations with regards to issues related to HRD. Among the issues that this
committee has studied was the admission policies of general and higher
education(Hammoudi,1993). Also the Economic Committee which has discussed the
issue of "Employment of National Manpower" in the Majlis's recent session held in
October, 1999. Other specialized Committees in the State Council also contribute to
The coordination process within these government bodies takes place as follows:
1- The Civil Service Council furnishes a detailed analytical annual report to the Council
of Ministers to ensure its approval on the general policies that govern the civil service and
whatever suggestions pertaining to ways of reforming and developing the existing
2- As a public agency, the Ministry of Civil Service reports to the Civil Service Council;
therefore, the ministry furnishes a report to the Civil Service Council to obtain its
approval on issues relevant to HRD such as approving the administrative training plan
which is formulated in coordination with the concerned authorities. The Ministry of Civil
Service was established in 1988. It is a central planning agency through which issues
related to HRD such as preparing the administrative training plan, follow up the
implementation of the Omanization plan, recruitment and selection, and performance
appraisal for the civil service are attended to in coordination with the various ministries
and public authorities ( Aledari,1993, Aledari, 1997).
3- The Ministry of Higher Education was established in 1994 based on royal decree
No. 15/94. For the purpose of this study this agency supervises the process of scholarships
and study grants, hence, the implementation of the Law on Grants and Scholarships.
4- The Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, and Vocational Training shoulder the
responsibilities of the technical education as well as the Vocational training. In addition
to this ministry, The Ministry of Health, The Sultan Qaboos University, and the Central
Bank also contribute in this line.
5- The Omanization Follow up Committee was established in 1997 based on royal
decree No. 95/97. A brief history of the bodies that existed prior to this agency will
enhance the comprehension of this committee's vital role. First, an Education and
Vocational Training Council was formed in 1977. This council was assigned the
(a) Set the objectives of the education policy and link it with that of the vocational
training and the requirements of the national economy within the parameters of the
(b) Set the time scale for the implementation of such policies during the duration of each
development plan and furnish it to the Development Council.
(c) Coordinate between the purposes and requirements of education and those of the
(d) Follow up the implementation of the education and vocational training programs.
This council was reformulated in 1978 and 1980 and eventually was replaced by the
Supreme Committee for Vocational Training and Labor in 1991. (Alansi, 1994, Birks and
The Supreme Committee was assigned the following responsibilities:
(a) Determine the manpower requirements of the national economy and set the
guidelines to assist the concerned agencies to link the training and education policies with
(b) Set the necessary Omanization policies for both the public and private sectors and
resolve the obstacles that might hinder its implementation.
(c) Approve the manpower plans prepared by the respective agencies.
(d) Approve the investment and utilization plans necessary for implementing the
Omanization policies in coordination with the concerned agencies.
(e) Set the necessary policies for employing expatriate manpower( Alansi, 1994,
This committee was also dissolved in 1997 and replaced by the Omanization
Follow-up Committee but its responsibilities pertaining to vocational training were
assigned to the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, and Vocational Training. This frequent
replacement of committees comes in line with a general reorganizational structure within
the country. The Omanization Follow-up Committee was assigned the following
(a) Follow up and supervise the implementation of the plans and programs of Omanizing
the jobs in both public and private sectors. To adhere to such a framework the committee
has the following authorities:
1- Participate in the process of determining the national economy's manpower
2- Participate in preparing the necessary investment and utilization plans to implement
the Omanization policies in coordination with the concerned agencies.
3- Prepare reports that indicate the achieved progress in implementing the Omanization
plans and programs in the public and private sectors and furnish proposals to overcome
the obstacles that impede the implementation process.
4- Any further authorization with regards to Omanization assigned to it based on royal
orders (the Official Gazzette , Dec. 16, 1997).
5- Coordination is also made with the various public agencies through the respective
departmental organs such as the Personnel Affairs Department in the preparation phase of
the training and Omanization plans as well as the implementation phase.
Within the structural dimension of the HRD policy in the Civil Service Sector the
following variations were observed:
The authorities, responsibilities and level of communication of the relevant bodies
that shoulder the HRD task differ from agency to another. Such structural variations are
of three levels: the level of a directorate general, a specific department for training, or a
section for training purposes within the parameters of the Department of Personnel
Affairs or as it is called in some ministries the Department of Human Resources
Development. Regardless of the difference in the titles of these department they are
identical in their assigned task.
One ministry has specified a directorate general within its organizational structure
to attend to the HRD function. This agency is the Ministry of Health, where the HRD
function is assigned to the Directorate General of Education and Training. Along with
such a setup this ministry has a special committee to approve the HRD policy under the
chairmanship of the Undersecretary of Planning Affairs.
For an agency which employs 15,117 employees as of 1997 and shoulder the task
of health care policy and implementation which is a sensitive and technical in nature.
Besides the fact that it enjoys a high level of diversity since its manpower structure is
composed of nationals as well as expatriates of different nationalities, ethnic
backgrounds, genders therefore has a long way to achieve high percentage of
Omanization. Also taking in mind its supervisory role of eleven nursing institutes and
three more health institutes such as :
• The Institute of Health Sciences.
• The Institute of Public Health.
• The Institute of Assistant Pharmacists.
Such an HRD structural arrangement is justifiable especially due to the
continuous nature of HRD and the fact that as the level of Omanization increases HRD
intervention will be in great demand to ensure a high level of productivity and prepare
and qualify a new breed of highly competent national manpower, keeping in mind that
the current expatriate workers already have acceptable levels of education and experience.
The second level of HRD structural arrangement takes the form of specifying a
department of training. Many ministries have adopted this model, such as the Ministry of
Civil Service, the Ministry of Water Resources, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the
Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor, and Vocational Training and
the Ministry of Electricity and Water. In addition to the specific department some of these
ministries have a ministerial committee under the chairmanship of the under secretary
such as in the case of the Ministry of Water Resources, and the Ministry of Foreign
Such an HR arrangement is reasonable given the size of these agencies, in
addition to attempts to privatize some of the assigned tasks that some of these agencies
use to shoulder such as the case of the Ministry of Electricity and Water and high level of
Omanization such as in the case of Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has only ten
expatriate workers compared to 601 Omani employees as of 1997 ( Ministry of National
In the case of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries the department that shoulders
the HRD function takes the title of the Department of International Relations and
Training. Here there is a likelihood that emphasis might be given to one side than the
other. For instance emphasis will be given the international relations rather than training
or vice versa. Since this ministry is managing the agriculture and fisheries sector which
represent one of the means through which Oman aims to diversify its national income, the
HRD function must be administered well and training ought to be assigned to specialized
cadre. In the case of Ministry of Education, such representation to the HRD function
within the organizational structure of the Ministry ought to be rethought due to the
• This ministry employs 30,428 employees as of 1997 which makes it the first in term
of the number of employees ( Ministry of National Economy, 1998).
• This agency along with the Ministry of Health employs 50.6% of the Omani
employees, the rest of the government agencies employ the remaining 49.4% .
• Both of these agencies have 79.1% of the expatriate employees, the remaining 20.9%
are working in the rest of the government agencies ( Alalawi and Shayban, 1999).
• The fact that it has a high level of diversity because its manpower structure is
composed of nationals as well as expatriates of different nationalities, ethnic
background, and genders.
• The continuous nature of HRD especially that this agency ought to achieve progress
in its walk toward Omanization.
Those factors ought to be examined carefully hence, the HRD structural arrangement
should be elevated to a level of a directorate general to be well equipped to fulfill the
The third level of HRD structural arrangement is that various public agency are
assigning this function to a training section within the Department of Personnel Affairs or
the Department of Human Resources Development which are identically the same in term
of their duties and responsibilities. Example of such representation can be seen in the
Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Information, the Ministry of Commerce and
Industry, and the Ministry of Petroleum and Gas.
It can be clearly stated that the HRD structural arrangements within these
agencies are not homogeneous and vary in authority, responsibilities, and level of
communication. Those agencies that are shouldering the responsibilities of interacting
with the events in global economy include :
• Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
• Ministry of Finance.
• Ministry of National Economy.
• Central Bank of Oman.
• Ministry of Petroleum and Gas.
• Ministry of Communication.
• Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The aforementioned agencies ought to be equipped with well structured HRD
departments so that their staff, especially the top, and line managerial levels are
consistently exposed to the needed HRD support so that their knowledge, skills, and
abilities are updated in order to appreciate the accelerated changes taking place in the
global arena especially since the Sultanate of Oman has taken massive steps to integrate
with new economic world order and soon will be a member of the World Trade
In her research study about the training needs assessment in the government in
the Sultanate of Oman, Shayban (1990) noted the following observation about the HRD
structural arrangement :
• Variations in titles and organizational position of the training bodies within the
government agencies. Such observation is still the case as it was mentioned above.
• Only 26 government agencies had a specialized training department which constitutes
60.5% of the over all government agencies. In contrast 39.5% remain without
specialized training departments, instead such function is assigned to the Department
of Personnel Affairs or the Department of Administrative Affairs. Eventhough her
research extends to a bigger domain than that of the study in hand, her remark in this
regards is still the case.
• Few training departments or sections are linked with the top management. Her finding
revealed that in this case it didn't exceed 2.3% which is one government agency only.
• The agencies that assign their HRD function to a directorate general or a department
are few. They only represent 20.9%. This study also revealed that only the Ministry
of Health is assigning the HRD function to a level of a directorate general. (Shayban,
Although Shayban's study was conducted in 1990, the researcher didn't come
across such a later diagnostic study which shed more light on the development with
regard to this issue.
On the other hand, all these respective bodies of government adhere to their assigned
roles with regard to the HRD policy within the parameters of the following laws and
• The Basic Statute of The State
• The Civil Service Law and its executive regulations.
• The Pension and Post Service Law.
• The Law on Grants and Scholarships.
Article 12 of The Basic Statute of The State stresses that "Justice, and equality of
opportunities for Omanis are the pillars of the society and are guaranteed by the State." It
is further elaborated in the same article that " Public employment is a national service
entrusted to those who carry it out. The State employees, while carrying out their work,
shall pursue the public interests and service to the society. Citizens are considered equal
in taking up public employment according to the provisions of law" ( Ministry of
Article 1 3 on the other hand highlights that "Education is a cornerstone for the
progress of society which the State fosters and endeavours to spread and make it
accessible to all. Education aims to raise and develop the general cultural standard,
promote scientific thought, kindle the spirit of research, respond to the requirements of
econonmic and social plans, build a generation that is physically and morally strong, that
takes pride in its nation, country and heritage and preserves its achievements" (Ministry
of Information, 1997).
To streamline the HRD function the Civil Service Law states the following:
Article 25 of the above mentioned law states that Training is an essential component for
each job and all employees must be subjected to it. All executives must take the proper
steps to train the Omani employees regardless of their respective levels or grades.
Training should be based on assessed needs, plans,and programs,that are in congruence
with the general development plan of the country, and within the parameters of the
allocated resources ( The Civil Service Law, p. 9).
Also article 45 of the Civil Service Law " it is permissible to send employees on
scholarships and study assistances to pursue further education or training. Also it is
allowable to give them study leave with or without pay based on the preset regulations.' 1
(The Civil Service Law,P.12).
The HRD issue is touched further in the Executive Regulations of the Civil
Service Law where article 42 states that "Each public agency should establish a provision
within its budget to meet the expenditures incurred as a result of the training activities.
This provision is financed annually based on the actual training needs in the respective
agency. Each head of unit issues the necessary guidelines to streamline the training
activities in his respective agency. However, it must adhere to the training plans approved
by the Civil Service Council." (The Executive Regulations of the Civil Service law,P.13).
Furthermore, the law on Grants and Scholarships stipulates the following
pertaining to the educational aspects of HRD:
1) All the applications for educational apportunities for the respective employees must be
sent to the Ministry of Higher Education for approval.
2) There is a specific committee to set the general guidelines for such responsibilities
chaired by the Undersecretary of Higher Educatio (The Law on Grants and Scholarships,
Also the Executive Regulations for the above mentioned law indicates the
scholarship allowances, and other incentives provided for the employees who are sent on
a scholarship such as tickets for him, his wife and up to three children in addition to
medical insurance for him or her and their accompaning family (The Executive
Regulations of The Law on Grants and Scholarships PP.9- 10, 22-24).
The following observations can be drawn from the above quoted citations of the
respective laws and regulations that govern the HRD:
1) The training activities are limited to the Omani employees which means that the
expatriate employees are left untrained. Although one can argue that to contain financial
implications Omani employees are given priority, such disparity , however, might
broaden the gap between the two elements that constitute the manpower structure in the
public sector. Therefore, this will endanger the notion of team work and deprive the
organization of the benefits of applying the strength of the available human resources
capacity for the betterment of the overall organizational performance. Such a shortcoming
ought to be alleviated by the leadership of the various agencies. The expatriate element
ought to be included in the internal training activities that take place in these agencies
especially those who are occupying vital positions. Also cross-cultural orientation ought
to be encouraged so that both elements operate in a healthy environment rather than one
full of ethnic sentiments. It is only when such an aspect is included in the organizational
culture of these agencies that they will reap the fruits of diversity. " Managing diversity
requires more than just compliance with laws. The management of diversity consists of
management processes to create a supportive work environment for employees already on
board, and to develop and fully include all of them in order to make the organization
more productive" ( Pynes,1997).
2) The training activities are subject to availability of resources, a matter which calls for
efficient and effective utilization of such resources and dictates a sense of team thinking
to come up with creative means of training. In addition such limitation calls for
strengthening the level of coordination between the various public agencies in the sphere
of training to contain the training cost and utilize their training funds efficiently. The
organizational structure of the various public agencies reveals that there are homogeneous
organs, for instance, the Directorate General of Administration Affairs and Finance in
most ministries. Such bodies can certainly join hands in the training activities and benefit
from exchange programs especially in the area of on-the-job training. Such a level of
coordination and cooperation may foster a statesman-like spirit rather than the micro
mentality of advocating a particular agency. " Loyalty to a very broad conception of the
public interest motivates statesman. Attentiveness to society and the nation as a whole
receives philosophical support from everyone. Political rhetoric is filled with exhortations
to public administrators to serve the interests of the entire population; administrators in
turn vow their loyalty to the citizenry." ( Gortner et al. ,1997).
3) One can also argue that limiting the HRD concept to training and education doesn't
provide a comprehensive appreciation to other primary functions of HRD such as
organizational development and career development.
Ill) HRD: The Implementation Dimension
This section will attempt to explore how HRD activities are carried out. Such
process fall mainly in the two areas : training and educational opportunities (provided for
the civil servants whether within the country or abroad by virtue of scholarships), but
before that we need to delve into Omanization, which is a nationwide policy to ensure
that HRD efforts contribute in developing highly skilled nationals so the transition from
expatriate to Omani national can be executed smoothly. It is also essential to provide
some insight on the contribution of relevant personnel functions to HRD efforts in the
civil service sector.
A) Omanization: A Nationwide Policy
Ever since the emergence of the modern state in 1970, the leadership in Oman was aware
that massive strides had to be taken to develop the country's human capital. In order to
implement the development plans geared to transform Oman to a modern society with the
essential infrastructure, the policy makers had no choice but to follow the GCC countries'
model and open the country's doors to an influx of migrant workers from various
countries of the world.
It must be noted that recruiting expatriate workers was a matter of paramount
importance to turn the wheel of development along with their national peers. One also
can argue that expatriate workers have contributed and are still contributing in the
development process of Oman, especially in the specialized fields in which nationals are
Although such step was inevitable due to the acute shortage of manpower the
country faced both in qualitative and qualitative sense, the issue of developing the
country's human resources was repeatedly considered one of the core objectives of the
five consecutive five-year development plans that were carried out, the last of which is
supposed to end in the year 2000.
The development council, in its decision issued in February with regard to the
objective and policies of the economic development in the Sultanate of Oman, indicated
that "emphasis must be given to developing the local human resources to enable it to
play a full role in the national economy. In this context, there must be expansion in the
education and training programs, improvement in nutritious and public health. However
these programs must be geared toward qualifying nationals to meet the requirements of
both public and private sectors." (Development Council, 1976)
These efforts fostered a nationwide policy of Omanization which aims to fill the
available jobs within the public and private sectors with qualified nationals, who
therefore incrementally replace the expatriate workers without impeding productivity
levels. This policy was to be implemented in view of the following:
1- It has the full consent of the political leadership. H.M the sultan has repeatedly
expressed the philosophy behind Omanization as a strategic goal.
2- It ought to be implemented in both the public and private sectors.
3- It should adhere to an incremental process in order to avoid impeding the productivity
4- The citizens are asked to play a constructive role in this regard. H.M the Sultan
reiterated that "each and every one of you is required to work for the national interest and
carryout his patriotic duties with wholehearted devotion 1 ' (Ministry of Information,
Among the factors that have led to viewing Omanization as one of the important
challenges facing Oman are:
1 . The fact that expatriate workers are competing with national workers to win over the
available jobs within the labor market.
2. The fact that financial implications are escalating in term of huge remittance. It is
estimated that foreign workers remit 30% of the country's oil revenue or 577 million
3. The fact that there are ranges of other factors such as level of crimes, sense of
dependency and underminding manual work as well as security issues (Alalawi and
The country has adopted several incentives to boost the process of Omanization such as:
1) Set a maximum level or a ceiling for the number of expatriate workers which will be
allowed to work annually for the various sectors which can be Omanized relatively easy.
It is possible to set a 45% Omanization target for industrial, mining and tourism sectors
and 25% for Omanizing the trade sector.
2) Omanize the managerial positions in the personnel department in all the organizations
in the private sector.
3) Compensate the private sector for its training expenditures inccured as a result of
training Omani workers to qualify them for a smooth transition.
4) Give priority with regard to government tenders contracts to companies which commit
to a time schedule for implementing Omanization.
5) Narrowing the gap between the employment systems in both public and private
6) Link priority of giving government loans and subsidies to the private organizations
according to Omanization's levels achieved and their commitment to enhance this cause
(The Development Council, 1991).
7) In 1995 the government specified an employer's contributions of 7.5% of the
expatriate worker's salary to fund vocational training projects (Economist Intelligence
The government has always set targets to Omanize various sectors. For instance
organizations in the transport and storage are called upon to ensure 60% of Omanization.
The insurance firms and estate agents are supposed to achieve 45% of Omanization other
sectors such as industry, hotel and restuarants and whole traders are supposed to achieve
35%, 30%, and 20% respectively. On the other hand, the Central Bank of Oman sets a
target of 95% Omanization of clerical positions and 75% for middle and senior
management positions by 2001 (Economist Intelligence Unit, 1998).
A world bank study indicated that in 1 992 the workforce in Oman numbered
about 699,700, of whom working Omanis accounted for 244,400. The same study
also indicated that 52% of employed Omanis, or 127,000, worked in the
agriculture sector. More recent figures show that at the end of 1996 there were
about 482,000 expatriate working in Oman, compared with about 105,000
Omanis, excluding those in the military and apparently, agriculture. (The
Economist Intellegence Unit, 1997)
The efforts to achieve responsible Omanization levels necessitate improvements
in the education and training policies. Among the policies which the fifth-five year
development aims to achieve as an initial plan for the long term— visions for Oman's
Economy in 2020 are:
1 - Improve the general education standards to reach international standards.
2- Expand the technical education and vocational training and divert the general
education graduate to this type of education.
3- Provide the vocational and professional training for preparatory level graduates and
also for dropouts.
4- Follow up the specified percentage for Omanization targets in the private sector and
frequently review it in view of the outcomes of the education and training systems.
5- Adopt flexible and realistic policies in the Omani labor market
6- Upgrade the information and statistics on the data base of the labor market. (Ministry
of Development, 1996)
According to the fifth development plan, the demand for labor will reach 903,000
employees by the year 2000. This figure consists of 739,000 existing during the forth
development plan and 164,000 which the fifth development plan is supposed to provide.
It is worth mentioning that there will be demand for 54,000 expatriate employees during
during the fifth development plan, therefore the aggregate demand for expatriate workers
will be 527,000 by the end of year 2000.
The number of Omanis in the labor market by the end of 1995 was 266,000
employees and expected is to rise to 376,000 employees by the end of year 2000. This
will lead to increase in the percentage of Omanization from 36% in 1995 to 42% in the
year 2000. The participation of females in the labor market will increase from 3.6% in
1995 to 5% in the year 2000 (Ministry of Development, 1996).
Among the challenge which faces human resource development and advancing
the levels of Omanization, Alalawi and Shyban (1999) state the following:
1- The structure of the population
2- Low participation of women in the workforce
3- Low productivity of the Omani workers
4- Weakness in the general education
5- Increased number of people seeking jobs
6- Gap between public and private sector jobs in terms of compensation and benefits
The majority of Omani's workforce is employed by the state. Since this study is
confined to the civil sector, the following part of this segment will be specified for
exploring the government dimensions of Omanization.
During the past years the government was the main source of employing Omani
employees. The table below highlights the development of manpower in the civil service
Civil Service Employees from 1970-1998
Source: Alalawi and Shyban, 1999
Distribution of Civil Service Employees Based on Nationalities
Omanis 55858 69
Non-Omanis 25110 31
Distribution of expatriate workers based on nationalities in the Civil Service
Alalawi and Shyban (1999) stated that 50.6% of the Omanis are employed by the
Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health compared to 49.4% employed by the rest
of public agencies. On the other hand, 79.1% of expatriate employees are employed by
the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health, while 20.9% are employed by the rest
of the public agencies. Appendix A provides the distribution of employees in the civil
sector on 12/31/1998 and the percentage of Omanization in each agency. Appendix A
reflects that The Ministry of Education and The Ministry of Health employees 79% of
the aggregate expatriate employees, mostly in the teaching and medical lines. While The
Ministry of Regional Municipality and Environment, and also The Office of the Ministry
of State and Governor of Dhofar employ 10.9%, mostly in crafts and service assistant
jobs. Unlike the expatriates in the private sector, most expatriate in the public sector are
Most expatriates employees within the public sector are working in the following
Educational services and assistant jobs.
Medicine, public health and its assistant jobs.
Advisors and experts.
Statistics, computers, finance and economics.
Agriculture and fisheries.
Distribution of expatriate workers based on nationalities in the Civil Service
— 1 Percentage
□ Nurrber of expatriate
Arabs Asians Others Total
It is evident that the government has invested a huge amount of funds to
implement the Omanization policy. Almuharami (1993) states that "during the Fourth
Five- Year Development Plan, for example, it has allocated OR 40 million to implement
the Omanization policy. In addition OR 10 million was allocated to the Ministry of Civil
Service in order to implement Omanization programmes in the Civil Service domain. It
is, however, recognised by Omani officials that the idea that the Omanization of the
workforce could be achieved easily and naturally was unrealistic, particularly with the
continuous absence of a clear replacement for the expatriate employees or, in other
words, defined manpower planning."
The responsibility of the Omani employees complements such efforts and plays a
vital role in implementing the Omanization policy. Educated Omani employees,
especially those who are occupying managerial positions, can contribute to this goal in
the following manners:
• Set examples to their subordinates through punctuality and discipline.
• Train their employees and introduce a learning environment in their work place.
• Participate in selecting the right employees based on the authority vested in them.
• Set the right organizational culture and promote harmony between the Omani and
expatriate employees so that team spirit prevails and the available resources are
B) Personnel Functions of Relevance to HRD
In this area emphasis will be given to what Barton and Chappell (1985) classified as:
1- Recruitment and Selection.
2- In-Service Personnel processes which include activities such as promotion,
performance appraisal, and compensation.
Recruitment and Selection
Article 15 of the Civil Service Law executive regulation indicates that job
vacancies within the civil service sector ought to be announced through the various
means in the media. The announcement in turn gives detailed information about the
vacant posts, relevant job descriptions, required qualifications to fill them and places
where applicants should submit their applications and appear for the necessary test and
interviews. Priorities are given to national candidates, however, expatriates are sought if
Omanis are not available. However, positions which fall within the special groups and
grade one of group one are filled through promotion. Article 17 of the Civil Service Law
gives heads of the units discretion to exempt some posts from being announced such as
those that need special consideration or need to be filled urgently . Heads of the unit are
also authorized to use their discretion to determine the jobs for which candidates ought to
be subjected for examination and others on which examinations are not needed in order to
Ahmed (1990) indicates that most of the government institutions use ad hoc
committees to attend to interviewing and testing potential candidates in order to select the
suitable ones. He further reiterates that the two most used methods are test and interview.
The selection system is centralized and attended to by the Ministry of Civil Service but
the government agencies are given reasonable autonomy in selecting their staff. Most of
the time the Personnel Affairs Committee is assigned the responsibility of selecting the
Once the selection is finalized the person is notified in writing so that he or she
can report to the Department of Personnel Affairs within thirty days. Once the employee
reports to work a file is opened for him or her. The employee is given a probation period
of three months, after which if his or her performance is not satisfactory he can be
dismissed based on the head of the unit recommendation. It must be stated that exempting
some jobs from examination doesn't ensure merit-based selection, however, within the
organizational culture of the public institutions this is acceptable to some extent because
it provides flexibility for other considerations within the society. HRD intervention ought
to be in the mind of those who are assigned the responsibility for recruiting and selecting
but in the absence of well defined job descriptions and job classifications this will not be
feasible for the majority of jobs. In addition HRD intervention ought to be in a form of
orientation programs geared to provide a sense of awarence for the employee about the
organization he is working for and the expected role he will perform. Taking into
consideration the structural arrangement specified for HRD within various organizational
structure it is doubtful that some of these agencies can attend to such a role. In his
declaration to Majlis Alshura in 1997, the Minister of Civil Service indicated that the
employment opportunities in the government sector have been narrowed down to :
• Available vacant grades within the various public agencies' budgets.
• Newly established jobs to meet the demand of new projects.
• Employment due to implementation of an Omanization plan
Performance appraisal is a crucial tool to evaluate the employees' performance in
an organization. As a result an agency can retain the best performers and set remedies for
those who are inefficient or even dismiss them. Performance appraisal can provide many
indicators that assist the decision making process in matters such as training, transferring,
promoting and even dismissing after exhausting the available remedies. Only if the
employees' performance is appraised properly can a superior come to know the
deficiency and strength in his or her staff and therefore can set the needed solutions to
improve the deficiency.
In the case of performance appraisal according to the experience of the Civil
Service Sector in Oman, this process has undergone continuous improvement in four
stages as follows:
1) The first method was used from 1976-1984.
2) The second method was used from 1984-1988.
3) The third method was used from 1988- 1991.
4) The fourth method was used from 1992-present ( Alouqdah, 1997).
The present performance appraisal method consists of nine distinctive forms, each
of which is geared toward appraising a specified group, e.g. managers and supervisors,
doctors, positions with the implementation levels , teaching field and so on.
The rating is conducted by the employee's immediate superior and then passed to
the superior's superior and finally approved by the Personnel Affairs Committee. These
multi-source checks may ensure objectivity in rating. The performance appraisal applies a
secrecy method, therefore the employee is not informed about the outcomes of the rating.
The proponent of this approach may argue that informing the employee the low rating he
is awarded may cause friction between the rater and his subordinates due to the strong
bond in the relationship between the people in the Arab society . However, such action
deprives the employee a chance of knowing the strong points which can be maintained
and the weak point which can be improved. As the level of education rises among Omani
employees the issue of friction becomes exaggerated, therefore, it becomes the
responsibility of the rater to prove his or her credibility in rating the subordinates and
work hand in hand with them to alleviate their deficiencies. Leaving the employee
uninformed may create a communication gap and broaden the lack of confidence between
the raters and their subordinates and therefore may jeopardize the notion of teamwork in
the long run.
Among the findings which Alouqdah (1997) concluded in his study about the
performance appraisal in the civil service sector in Oman are:
1- Some performance appraisal samples included some elements irrelevant to some
employees. If they were left without assigning a grade for it while rating those to whom it
is not applicable it will result in lowering the overall grade they will be awarded.
2- The applied performance appraisal samples are long, therefore, they are time
consuming and may create filing problems over the years.
3- The time allocated for preparing these samples is not sufficient especially in large
agencies such as the Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Health. This may lead the
raters to rush in the preparation process so that they can finish in the required time. Such
a rush may result in neglecting the objectivity in the rating process which in turn will
have a negative effect on the credibility of the evaluation.
4) There are several obstacles which face the rater in this regard as a result of :
A) Difficulty due to absence of performance levels to use as a benchmark while rating.
B) Difficulties due to variations in the performance level of the employees from time to
C) Difficulty due to lack of clarity in the meaning of some elements in the performance
D) Difficulty in rating the annual performance of the employee especially in view of the
lack of documenting the observations about the employees performance.
E) The length of the samples themselves.
F) The fact that the appraisal records are not taken seriously.
The above mentioned factors may lead the rater to fall into some of the common
rating errors such as the halo effect, central tendency, lenient rating, strict rating, latest
behavior, initial impression, spill over effect, same as me, and different than me (Pynes,
As for the contribution of the performance appraisal to HRD activities, one can
state that it has a marginal contribution in view of the above mentioned obstacles and the
lack of job description and job classification system. Emphasis should be given to enable
the raters to maintain objectivity and improve the shortcomings of this process because
the outcomes of such process can be helpful in making the right decision about other
personnel activities such as promotion, and training. For HRD purposes performance
appraisal can produce important indicators which can be used in the process of training
For promotion to take place a vacant grade has to be available and certain
conditions must be measured in the candidate to be eligible for promotion. The Civil
Service Law indicates that promotion should be based on a merit system which takes into
account matters such as seniority, academic qualifications, and performance. The Civil
Service Law sets a ceiling or a minimum number of years before promoting the employee
from one grade to another. These requirements vary depending on the grade group that
employee is in prior to promotion. For instance the law requires a minimum of three
years for grades three and four of group one, and two years for grades five and six of
group one. On the other hand the law sets four years for grades two, and three for group
Alouqdah ( 1997) indicates that only 45% of his respondents stated that their
organizations use the outcomes of the performance appraisal as a base for financial
promotion, while 18% stated that their organization uses the performance appraisal
results for job advancement. In view of the budgetary constraints this function also has a
marginal contribution to the overall HRD activities.
Remuneration and Compensation
An employee is based on the relevant qualification and experience as specified in
the preset guidelines in terms of the financial grade. The employee is awarded an
overtime pay for the time that exceeds the required number of hours. Employees are also
eligible to receive an annual increment except those who are awarded an unsatisfactory
grade in the performance appraisal report. This increment is considered as a cost of living
adjustment added annually to the employees' salary. Employees also receive an
electricity and water allowance.
Although article 56 of the executive regulations of the Civil Service Law states
that it is possible to reward those with exceptional performance an additional allowance,
this provision is subject to availablity of funds, therefore, it is seldom the case that it is
put in use. Compensation guidelines for public servants are illustrated in section nine of
the executive regulation of the Civil Service Law. The employee's compensation for an
injury is usually based on his or her salary when the injury took place. A medical
authority, normally Ministry of Health, has to assess the type of injury.
However, in the following circumstances the employee is not eligible for
compensation; these are:
1) Death or disability as a result of a deliberate act of the employee.
2) In case of intoxication.
3) Violation of the preset prevention guidelines .
This function can provide some motivation to certain employees but since not all
employees are motivated by virtue of financial reward, it will have a minimal impact if it
is not used as an integrated package with other means of motivation. Sometimes budget
constraints may not make it possible to reward the employees. Due to cultural
assumptions financial promotion take place in a form of batches who have been in the
same grade for certain number of years. Therefore it is discouraging for those with
exceptional performance to see others get promoted in the same manner that they are
getting promoted without consideration for the difference in productivity.
C) Training Activities
Training is one of the in-service personnel functions. It includes " Those activities
that serve to improve an individual's performance on currently held job or one related to
it." (Mondy and Noe, 1990).
Often there is a misconception that training has a magic effect to solve all the
problems facing a particular agency. Therefore some agencies embrace such assumption
and race to train their employees, but to their dismay the results are not as fruitful as they
hoped. For training to be effectively and efficiently carried out, it has to be properly
planned, implemented and evaluated. The assessment of the training needs has to be
based on actual needs rather than on some biases drawn by those who are assigned such
In the case of the public sector in Sultanate of Oman the training process can be
classified into the following:
1 ) Administrative Training.
2) On-the Job-Training.
3) Other Training Activities.
The administrative training is centrally planned by the Ministry of Civil Service in
coordination with the respective public agencies. Such a process is attended through the
• The Ministry of Civil Service circulates a letter to all the public agencies to prepare
their training needs for the following fiscal year. Attached to the letter the ministry sends
a specific form in which such needs ought to be listed by the respective agencies. The
agency must determine the number of employees that it needs to train,types and level of
training.These data should be sent to the Ministry of Civil Service by the end of June.
• The forms are filled by the respective department or section in the respective agency
depending on the HRD representation in the organizational structure of agency. Once it is
approved by the concerned authority in each agency, it is sent to the Ministry of the Civil
• The Ministry of Civil Service reviews the proposed training needs and puts them
before the Civil Service Council for approval. Once the general plan is approved the
respective agencies are informed. Therefore, each agency becomes responsible about
training its employees based on the proposed needs.
Shyban (1990) indicated that the administrative training aims to achieves the
1- Contribute toward providing well trained personnel and enhance their performance.
2- Train employees on how to apply modern work methods.
3- Prepare the number of adminstrative leaders needed in the public sector.
4- Retrain some employees based on the changes in the organizational structure and the
agency's policies to adapt to the prevailing environmental forces.
5- Assist in the implemention of Omanization policy through preparing suitable
alternatives to the expatriate expertise.
The Institute of Public Administration (IP A) participates in setting the
administration training plans as well as designing and implementing it. A look at the IPA
guide for training programs in 1999 reveals the following observations:
1) IPA is supposed to implement 1 10 training programs, 49 of which are general training
programs tailored to meet the needs of trainees from various agencies within the
government sector. While 61 training programs are specified for trainees of a particular
agency, e.g. Ministry of Education, Ministry of Regional Municipalities and
Environment, The Office of the Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar. Out of the
total 1 10 training programs which IPA is supposed to implement only 95 training
programs are geared to train the civil service sector employees. These training programs
are categorized subjectwise as shown in the table below.
Training Activities Carried Out in 1999 by IPA
2) There are a number of training programs geared toward the behavior of the employees
such as :
A) Stress Management.
B) Time Management.
C) Dealing with People
There should certainly be an increase in this area of training in the future because it
inculcates good habits that make a difference in the employees' performance and the
agency at large. Such training is essential in modern organizations because it helps the
employees to take the right attitude toward his or her work environment.
3) The training programs also include training activities in the information technologies
A) The use of the internet.
B) Using computer in preparing public budgeting.
C) Other programs using Microsoft.
This in turn reveals that these agencies are trying to adapt to the environment forces
which they operate within, especially the technical environment.
4) There is concern from some agencies to prepare their in-house trainers such as the
case of both Ministry of Education and Ministry of Water Resources. This step is one of
the means of utilizing the educated employees and directing their strength to the
betterment of the organization. This category of employees can be a valuable asset in
improving the HRD activities in terms of :
A- Coordinating the training activities.
B- Expanding the base of training to include large number of employees at their
C- Participating in the assessment of the training needs at their agency .
5) The majority of the training programs are specified for the middle management
positions. Out of the 95 training programs geared toward the civil service sector
employees, there are 62 training programs specifically geared to train middle
management positions. About 50% of these training programs are tailored to meet the
demand of specific public agencies such as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Regional
Municipalities and Environment, The Office of the Minister of State and Governor of
Dhofar, Ministry of Social Affairs, Labor and Vocational Training, Ministry of
Agriculture and Fisheries, and Ministry of Water Resources. The participants in these
programs include department directors as well as head of sections. The argument may be
that since such programs are specified for the particular agency then they might as well
include as many trainees as they can. However, including these different categories in the
same programs may result in a lack of congruence among the participants, especially that
they differ in terms of educational background, experience, span of control, and the scope
of responsibilities, that therefore may impede their interaction with the trainers. If
participants are more homogenous, such a training opportunity could enhance the
discussion and participants can relate their experience to enhance the contents of the
programs. The participants can develop a sense of coordination with each other in the
6) There was one program specified for enhancing the supervisory skills of women
tailored for the training needs of women. This program is designed for the Ministry of
7) What is striking is that in this annual plan there is no training program tailored to meet
the needs of the top managerial positions. This indicates that training activities involve
the employees who occupy middle management postions and below. It goes beyond any
doubt that organization are open systems and therefore must adapt to the environment to
survive. The uncertainty that agencies operate in necessitates a continuous development
of the available human capital. Depriving the upper managerial layer of such training
opportunities is likely to create a clash between the top managers and their middle
management subordinates because the two segments will not be at the same wavelength.
The middle management employees want to put what they learned in the training
program to the test of reality and benefit from it in solving their day-to-day problems and
therefore will propose certain change to take place in the mechanism of their work. The
top managers on the other hand will see no need for such action. Such incongruence will
breed dissatisfaction and will abort the effectiveness of the training programs.
Abdelfatah (1994) in his research study on the develoment of the administrative
leadership in the civil service in Oman stressed the need for training the upper managerial
incumbents. Among the recommendations he made in this regard are the following:
A) The administrative leadership development should be attended in an integrated and
coherent manner. Therefore there should be a comprehensive strategy for human resource
B) The administrative leadership development is a continuous process that ought to be
supported by the concerned agencies.
C) The scientific and technological advancement necessitates that leaders should update
their knowledge and skills.
D) The Omani culture ought to be considered when trying to develop such segment.
E) The contingency approach necessitates that the leaders should be equipped with the
needed knowledge and skills to enable them to select the suitable leadership style to
attend to the situation in hand.
The IPA used to conduct frequent workshops and meetings devoted to the upper
echelon to discuss some issues of concern to the civil service sector. Such an initiative
ought to be an annual tradition of the institute because it gives the upper managers a
chance to explore some persisting issues and benefit from the diverse viewpoints of the
participants. Among the areas of training that ought to be devoted to this category of
employees Abdelfatah (1994) recommended the following:
A) Problem solving skills.
B) Decision making skills.
C) Planning skills
D) Negotiation skills.
E) Financial and statistical skills.
F) Human resource development skills.
In this context the researcher reiterates the necessity to expose the upper
managerial civil servants to such training to update their knowledge and skills and induce
harmony between the different levels in the agency. This, however, supports the
researcher's third hypothesis, that the human resource development activities are partially
applied, focusing on certain categories of civil servants. Upper managerial employees
can't by any means be neglected because it is their leadership and vision that serve to
utilize the available resources of the agency to achieve its objectives and set future goals
8) All the training programs are in-service oriented training. However the civil service
sector uses the pre-service type of training as an approach for Omanization. This point
will be elaborated further in the technical training section.
9) The majority of the training programs are carried out in Muscat, the capital city. Only
nine training programs are carried out in Salalah and are specifically tailored to meet
the training needs of the middle management employees at the Office of the Minister of
State and Governor of Dhofar. These figures reflect that the regional branches at the
various regions in the country have a minimal share in the training programs. Due to the
geographical distance between Muscat and the other towns there is a small number of
trainees who participate in IPA training activities. The Statement of the Minister of
Regional Municipalities and Environment in a recent meeting with his employees seems
to support this observation. He indicated that 90% of the training opportunities will be
tailored to meet the training needs of the employees at the regional branches of his
agency in the year 2000. (Oman Daily Newspaper, July 21, 1999: 4)
Neglecting the regional branches from such training activities is likely to result in
an inefficient local government in the long run if such a trend is not reversed.
10) It can also be observed that some of the topics of the training programs are repeated
to other agencies as well such as :
A) Developing trainer's skills (one program was designed for Ministry of Water
Resources and two for Ministry of Education).
B) Stress management program, for several agencies.
Such repetition is an indication of the lack of coordination between these agencies.
Effective coordination between the various agencies will enable them to contain the
financial implication of the training activities. The agencies will also tend to nominate
homogenous trainees to attend to the training programs rather than end up with
hetrogenious groups such as the example of having managers and head of sections attend
the same training programs. Proper coordination between the civil service sector agencies
will enable them to cooperate in the issue of training for the regional branch employees.
They can also activate the internal training through exchanging trainers and trainees.
11) There was a program specifically designed to meet the training needs of the Ministry
of Social Affairs, Labor, and Vocational training on scientific methods on preparing
research. Such training will provide some tangible evidence necessary in the decision
12) There was one training program on managing and marketing the municipality
services. Such program reflect the new trend in public administration which calls for
embracing some of the techniques used in the private sector.
13) IPA uses a special form to collect the data of the trainees who are nominated to attend
a training programs. Such data includes personal information about the employee, about
the job, its responsibility, job description, previous training opportunities given to him or
her, any other skills that the trainee has if any such as computer skills, and comments of
the immediate superior. The IPA also doesn't allow those who miss more than 10% of the
duration of the course to appear for the final exam. In this regard IPA also prepares a
performance report about the trainees which includes how many hours the trainee was
absent among other criteria. At the end of the program the trainee is awarded a certificate
which indicates that he or she successfully completed the program. IPA also gathers some
feedback from the trainees about the training program that they have attended. Although
such measures from the IPA part may introduce discipline in implementing the
programs, it remains the responsibility of the various public agencies to assess their
actual training needs properly. A look at the available manpower at IPA reveals that there
are 25 employees including two who are currently on scholarships. This when compared
to what is expected from such a vital organization is clearly insufficient, especially when
the institute is involved in training, consultations, publishing, and conferences and
workshops arrangements. It is worth mentioning that public agencies also send their
employees for training in private training institutes as well.
Shyban (1990) indicated that there are some challenges facing the process of
planning the training activities such as:
1) Lack of awareness about training which in turn affect the inputs and outputs of the
2) Lack of technical expertise to plan and follow up training in various public agencies.
3) Absence of full cooperation between training planners at the central level and those
who plan training at the respective agencies.
4) Lack of cohesiveness in the training plan which are supposed to include training
needs assessment, plan implementation, and follow-up and evaluation of the plan. She
points out that in practice such components are incomplete and do not complement each
other. Therefore training activities end up including some needs only. Not to mention that
there is no follow up and evaluation for these plans.
5) Training needs assessment is not attended to carefully due to insufficient planning and
absence of essential components such as:
A) Job Classifications.
B) Inability of some directors to assess the precise training needs of their employees.
C) Differences in educational levels and experience between employees in the same
group level or even same job level .
Shyban ( 1990) further points out the following observations about the employees
who are involved in the area of training:
1- There are differences in the number, job titles, and scope of work for such category of
2- There is a limited number of employees working in this area. She found that the
number ranges from one to five in twenty seven agencies and that only two had five
employees working in this area.
Shyban (1994) also made the following observations about the effectiveness of
the training activities :
A) Lack of following up the outcomes of training in somes government agencies.
B) The agencies don't benefit fully from the outcomes of their training activities.
C) Limited effect of training on the performance of the employees.
D) Limited linkage between training and the other personnel functions.
E) Lack of awareness of some directors and supervisors about the importance of
F) Lack of awareness of employees about the importance of training.
Given such observations along with the present HRD representation within the
organizational structure of the civil service sector agencies is enough to support the
researcher's first hypothesis that despite the increasing importance that the civil service
sector is giving to HRD , the outcomes of HRD activities are not evaluated effectively to
ensure continuous improvements. The second hypothesis that the process of human
resource development is adhered to as an activity rather than a strategic tool is supported
This type of training is carried out at each agency and normally attended
separately. Due to the lack of published data the researcher was unable to provide an
analytical comparative prespective about this type of training activities. However such
training is attended to in an organized fashion in large organizations such as Ministry of
Health. In various hospitals this type of training is applied in a systematic manner
especially for nurses and para-medical staff. Sometimes the job rotation method is used
where employees are moved from job to another to broaden their experience. This type of
training can be crucial and result-oriented if it is systematically planned and carefully
implemented and regularly evaluated. Ali (1990) states that there are two different
assumptions for the on-the-job training:
A) It can be designed and implemented in a straight forward manner.
B) It is not doable due to the complexity of the assignement performed by the experts, or
the quality of expert or counterpart.
Which ever the case, the on-the-job training can prove to be a practical tool if
obstacles facing the success of such attempt are carefully weighted and properly
diagnosed. This type of training should not be ignored.
(3) Other Training Activities
IP A conducted numerous pre-service training programs in order to qualify a number
of secondary school certificate holders in areas such as Arabic typing, special secretary
during the training year 87/88 and training year 89/90. The institute also conducted a
pre-service training program in library science for university graduates. Such programs
were implemented in nine months and were introduced as a mean to Omanize some jobs
previously occupied by expatriates. There were 13 programs tailored for such purposes
and attended by 284 employees. IPA also implemented two-year diploma programs to
qualify secondary school certificate holders in areas such as accounting and statistics.
Such training was geared toward the areas in which Omanis are scarce. During the period
from 1990-1996 IPA implemented four programs attended by 85 participants . IPA also
intends to organize a diploma program in library science to retrain the graduates of arts
Almaskary (1992) stated that:
a significant majority of respondents have indicated that they regard working in
the area in which they are trained as extemely important. This might be good
news, because it might reduce the possibilities of mismatch between education
and employment. However, the insistence of working in the area which a graduate
is trained for might engender a problem of educated umemployment. The problem
of educated unemployment is widespread in developing countries.
Therefore such retraining efforts are geared to avoid such a trap.
The public agencies that have training centers also conduct internal training
programs for their employees. In this area the researcher was not able to collect data
pertaining to this types of training to give an analytical observation on the Civil Service
Sector at large, therefore, we will provide some examples of certain ministries to state
that such training is taking place or it is one of the means of training civil service
The training activity report of the Ministry of Electricity and Water for 1998
indicated that 30 employees were provided internal training activities, however, the report
did not specify the subject matter of these training activities. Attending conferences and
seminars is another type of training within the civil service sector; the Ministry of
Electricity and Water training activities report in 1998 reveals that 70 employees were
given a chance to attend conferences and seminars within Oman as well as abroad.
The report reveals that among the countries that this ministry's employees were
sent in order to attend conferences are Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Japan,
United Kingdom, and Switzerland. The conference and seminar method is frequently
used by the Ministry of Health, such as the seminar on primary health care which was
held on November 5, 1998 (Oman Daily News, Nov.6, 1998: 2).
The civil service sector also provide training to its technically oriented cadres. The
Ministry of Water Resources training activity report for the period from 1990-1997
indicates that the ministry provided 1238 training opportunities geared toward technical
cadre ; however, the report did not specify the level of such cadre or the area in which
they are specialized. On the other hand, the report stated in its introductory comments
that such training was directed toward technically oriented jobs.
D) Educational Opportunities
In this context emphasis will be given to the educational opportunities that
employers, in our case the public agencies, provide to their employees as a mean of
qualifying them. Therefore a description of the education system in Oman is deemed
unnecessary. In this regards the agencies coordinate with the Ministry of Higher
Education in sending their employees on scholarship abroad and to the respective
educational institutes within the Sultanate of Oman. Prior to the opening of the Sultan
Qaboos University in 1986 Oman used to send its secondary school graduates to various
countries to pursue their university education as well as higher studies. Due to the
opening of the Sultan Qaboos University as well as the availability of various colleges
and technical institutes in addition to the opening of several private colleges, the number
of those who are sent on scholarships declined. The Ministry of Higher Education
coordinates such activities. Employees are sent to pursue their higher education based on
their respective agencies' recommendations. In the year 96/97 a Ministry of Higher
Education report shows that the number of those who are pursuing their graduate studies
was 74, one of whom was sent to finish his chartered of medicine, 58 were sent to pursue
master's degrees and 15 were sent to pursue their doctoral degrees. These students are
distributed in USA , UK, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, France and Australia. On the other
hand in the year 97/98 the report shows that there are 3605 pursuing university degree
In addition, some agencies send their employees to the Sultan Qaboos University
to pursue their master's degrees. For example the Ministry of Education has sent some of
its students to pursue their master's degrees in education administration. The Ministry of
Health also coordinates for its employees to sit for their chartered of medicines exams in
Oman. Such initiatives reduce the financial implications of such educational opportunities
and provide a vast number of employees with such a chance. The opening of the private
colleges also provides the public agencies with a chance to educate their secondary school
graduate employees with a two- year college education based on their actual needs.
There are also a number of employees who are pursuing a correspondence
education. The advancement in the information technology will open a wide chance for
educational opportunities and if it is streamlined effectively will also contribute to
educating a wide range of employees and provide a chance for the agencies to utilize the
allocated funds for such purposes efficiently. An example of the Ministry of Water
Resources' efforts in this area will illustrate this. During the period from 1990-1997 this
agency had sent 34 of its employees on scholarships to pursue their master's degrees in
various fields of relevance to the ministry's specialized functions. The employees were
sent to study: hydrology, water resources management, sociology, geographic
information systems, geophysics and other related studies. The ministry also sent 7 of its
employees to pursue their undergraduate studies in areas such as: development
administration, public administration, finance and technical oriented studies. In addition
the ministry qualified 56 employees for post secondary diplomas.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The Sultanate of Oman has achieved massive strides in its development
experience. From a fragmented tribal society before 1970, the country became modern
and reknowned worldwide. The government sector has undergone continuous attempts to
modrenize its institutions so that it can provide its citizens with the services each agency
is designed to deliver. To live up to the expectation the civil service agencies have to
adapt to their environment consistently. In such a quest these agencies ought to develop
their human capital in a continuous manner because it is the qualified and empowered
employees who turn the preset plans to tangible results.
While exploring the issue of human resource development and the existing
activities and practices in this area within the civil service sector in Oman, this study
revealed that the issue of developing the human capital remains one of the challenges
facing the civil service sector especially in the technically oriented spheres. Huge
investments are devoted to this issue; yet, the outcomes have not met expectations.
Although the civil service sector has achieved 69% Omanization , the quality of some of
the Omani employees compared to those who have been replaced is questionable.
Sometimes point of views about the low productivity levels of Omani employees are
aired out. Lower output in the positions which are newly Omanized may be due to many
variables such as the development experience in Oman which is itself an infant
compared to other countries where modernization efforts have been set in motion for
many decades, even centuries. Other possible explainations include the age and
educational background of the Omani employees. This issue ought to be researched and
suitable remedies should be proposed. It was evident that there is a lack of coordination
between the various civil service sector agencies in the area of human resource
development. Such a case ought to be avoided and mechanisms for coordination and
cooperation between these agencies should be introduced so that the civil service sector
employees can reap the comparative advantage of such cooperation.
Retraining educated employees is going to be an issue of paramount importance,
especially in the social science disciplines. This issue should be carefully planned and an
awareness program ought to be set in motion to reenforce the importance of such
steps. Those who are going to be retrained should be motivated and rewarded properly.
Although Omanization is a natural cry that ought to be sympathized with and
understood from the expatriates' point of view, the implementation phase of such policy
uoght to be done in a delicate way so that it does not jeopardize the quality needed in a
particular job being Omanized. Attention ought to be given to qualified expatriates to
ensure their satisfaction and maximum performance. Since this segment of employees is
qualified, they may feel insecure and alienated. Some of these expatriates have been in
Oman for a long time and are well acquiented with the work environment in Oman. They
can serve better than any new expatriate that might be employed if high turnover in that
segment is the case. The outcomes of this study were supportive to the researcher's
• Despite the increasing importance that the Civil Service Sector to HRD, the
outcomes of HRD activities are not evaluated effectively to ensure continuous
• The process of human resource development is adhered to as an activity rather than a
• the human resources development activities are partially applied, focusing on certain
categories of civil servant.
It was also found that the other personnel functions do not contribute in an integrated
sense to the HRD efforts, rather each function is practiced in an independent sence. Also
HRD is used as an approach to Omanization of workforce in certain areas, not on an
aggregate macro-level scale. However this issue remains to be the responsiblity of the
newly established Omanization Follow-Up Committee. In order to alleviate such
shortcomings , the civil service sector can benefit from the following recommendations:
1) Develop integrated and comprehensive human resource development plans that take
into consideration the various functions of personnel and make them contribute to such a
plan. These plans should attend to the macro and micro levels needs of the civil service
2) Increase coordination and cooperation between the various agencies in the area of
human resource development.
3) Intensify the activities of the on-job training and incorporate it as a means to create a
learning organization so that the employees will undergo continuous renewal in their
knowledge and abilities to perform the assigned tasks.
4) Rotate those who are occupying supervisory positions in order to be subjected to
different tasks within their organizations. This in turn will enable these supervisors to
give importance to train their subordinates.
5) Broaden the base of intergovernmental coordination between the various agencies
within the public sector in the sphere of training so that training budgets can be managed
efficiently and many employees get trained. This will also help facilitate communication
between these agencies.
6) Benefit from the outcomes of the research studies published in specialized journals,
such as Aledari , academic dissertations or in-house research performed within the
respective public agencies.
7) All the agencies train their employees through local training institutes as well as
abroad. These agencies ought to think about qualifying a group of their educated Omani
employees to be trainers so that they can conduct some in-house training programs for
their agencies. Such a group can also help their agencies in the process of assessing the
training needs based on scientific methods. They can also help in the process of
evaluating the outcomes of the training programs.
8) Conduct research studies to compare productivity level of both Omani and expatriate
employees in order to diagnose the reasons behind the low productivity levels of the
Omani employees if that is the case and propose remedies for it. Such studies will enable
planners to gear Omanization efforts toward such deficiencies.
9) Make use of the various skilled expatriate employees and utilize their expertise to
train the Omani employees provide that:
A) Those expatriate employees are provided some training on the intricacies of being a
B) Motivate the Omani employees to benefit from such training opportunities.
10) Promote internal training activities toward cross-cultural training especially in big
agencies such as the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health, the purpose of
which is to:
A) To enhance appreciation of the diversity issue.
B) To discourage the ethnocentric mentality of being Omani versus being expatriate
and encourage a sense of teamwork to achieve the goals of their agency.
11) Qualify a group of Omani researchers to shoulder the task of studying the HRD
issues in their respective public agencies and heading a quality circle team devoted to find
suitable solutions to overcome the obstacles and challenges faced by their agencies.
However, to achieve such purpose those employees ought to be highly educated and
exposed to advanced research methodologies. The public organizations can benefit in this
regard from IPA and Sultan Qaboos University, especially since SQU became an
approved think tank according to a recent royal decree.
12) Public agencies can put HRD as a provision in their tenders which the contractors
compete to win over.
13) The Institute of Public Administration (IPA) is a highly specialized government
body which play the role of a think tank in the country therefore the following point
ought to be considered:
A) The size of the workforce ought to be reconsidered because the present capacity is
insufficient compared to the expected task from such organ.
B) The training department at IPA ought to conduct annual training for those who are
involved in planning the training activities at the various agencies to enable them to draw
on accurate assessment of their employees' training needs . Such a program ought to be
delivered in a form of workshop or seminar prior to the date in which these agencies are
supposed to embark in assessing their training needs.
C) The quality of employees at IPA ought to be upgraded and the Omanization process
ought to take place based on a long term vision. IPA should even consider the option of
retaining selected expatriate expertise for a long time, because simply obtaining high
accademic degrees does not make one a good trainer or researcher. Since the functions of
IPA are knowledge-oriented, the quality of the outcomes is determined by the quality of
those who are producing it.
D) The IPA has published several studies concerning HRD, which ought to be updated
so that they can help researchers to have the right diagnosis of the present situations.
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